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A fake Swedish air pilot has been fined $2,500 and banned from flying for 12 months after confessing to flying passenger jets for an astonishing thirteen years without a licence. Thomas Salme, 41, was made a captain three years after conning his way on to the flight deck of Scandinavian airline Air One.

He was arrested at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport in March – while seated in the cockpit of a Corendon Boeing 737 carrying 101 passengers just minutes from take-off. Officers, who were alerted by a Swedish tip-off, said the man had once had a commercial pilot licence, but it had expired and it never qualified him for passenger flights.

He claimed that he had also flown British, Belgian and Italian airlines, though it is unclear which ones.

Last month he was fined $2,500 and was banned from flying for 12 months by a Dutch court – which noted that in the entire 13 years, he had never caused an accident. Salme said he secretly trained himself at night on a full-scale flight simulator – and created his own licence with a photocopier.