French man found in cockpit of Philly plane pleads guilty

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

A French man accused of having gained access to the cockpit of a plane at Philadelphia International Airport by impersonating an employee of another airline has pleaded guilty to a fraud count.

Sixty-one-year-old Philippe Jeannard of La Rochelle, France entered the plea Wednesday in federal court.

A sentencing hearing has not been scheduled.

Authorities said Jeannard unsuccessfully sought a seat upgrade on a Florida-bound US Airways flight on March 20 and later used a fraudulent Air France ID card belonging to an ex-employee to gain access to the cockpit, where he was found sitting in the jump seat behind the pilot.

Federal public defender Elizabeth Toplin declined comment on her client's motives but told The Philadelphia Inquirer that "he never meant to cause any problems."

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