Pilot Imposter Upsets Qantas Crews
Qantas flight crews are furious that an airline staffer was allowed to dress as a pilot and fly in the jump seat of an A380, according to a story in Tuesday's Sydney Morning Herald. The pilots' union has lodged a formal complaint with the airline, stating that a staff member from navigation services wore a second officer's uniform and showed up for a flight last week from Dubai to Sydney. "At the company's direction, they put a person on the flight deck dressed as a pilot who is not a pilot. It is not appropriate under any circumstances," Australian and International Pilots' Association Vice President Richard Woodward told the Herald. "The pilots are all up in arms." Qantas said in a statement it was unclear why the staff member was dressed as a pilot.
"We're examining precisely why this happened," the airline's statement said. "However, it's clear that the staff member was on the flight deck for operational reasons and was not in any way trying to deceive the flight crew, who knew the staff member wasn't a pilot. … The staff member had the proper security clearance and appropriate documentation to be on the flight deck and there is no suggestion of improper behaviour on the aircraft." Woodward said that although the staffer had a security ID card that would allow her to access the cockpit, with the captain's permission, that does not make it OK for her to "masquerade as a pilot." He said the staffer was "purporting to be somebody she is not," and in the event of an emergency, flight attendants would have looked to her for direction because of the uniform.