A HAMPSHIRE conman who faked pilot’s qualifications to get a job flying holiday makers to the UK is on the run after failing to appear before the courts for sentencing.
Michael Fay, 59, a US national who settled in Alton, worked fraudulently as a commercial airline pilot, flying passengers into Gatwick Airport without the proper licence and medical documentation on eight occasions.
Police were alerted to Fay’s scam when another pilot became suspicious while chatting to him on an internet forum.
He had been operating Airbus A320 aircraft for eight months on behalf of Libyan company Afriqiyah Airways at the time of his arrest on February 3, 2011, having forged his pilot’s licence and medical certificates.
The former US Air Force pilot was sentenced in absentia to three years in prison at Winchester Crown Court last Friday for fraud.
Fay is believed to have fled the UK and may be seeking work as a pilot or flying instructor.
Hampshire Constabulary, the Civil Aviation Authority and overseas law enforcement are working together to bring Fay back to the UK to begin his sentence.
DC Chris Thorne from Hampshire Constabulary, said: “Michael Fay is a clever and resourceful man who clearly shows no concern for public safety if he’s willing to work without the correct licences and medical certification.
“He targeted Libyan aviation at a time when the country’s political and economic standing was vulnerable and volatile.
“Had it not been for the quick-thinking of a genuine pilot on the internet forum, Fay may have continued to put the public at risk in this manner unnoticed.
“We are working closely with the CAA and other organisations outside of the UK to locate him and bring him to justice. Public safety is paramount so it is important people are aware that he may be trying to gain work as an airline pilot or flying instructor overseas.
“Any information as to his whereabouts should be directed to Hampshire Constabulary on 101 or, if overseas, local law enforcement.”