Jul 21st 2009 By Jeremy Taylor
In an audacious ruse with shades of the based-on-a-true story film "Catch Me If You Can," a 17-year-old British boy was able to convince aviation executives that he had a fleet of jets
, and then engaged in six months of serious negotiations about starting up a cut-rate European airline.
The unnamed teenager met with businessmen as "Frank Tait," but used other names in emails, phone conversations and Web sites, creating the illusion of a legitimate outfit. In addition, "Tait" was able get articles about his fake endeavor placed in airline industry magazines.
His dalliances with the press proved to be his undoing, as "Airline World" began to suspect something was amiss, and this led to "Tait" being questioned by police after he tried to gain access to a 93-seat plane.
Authorities have so far declined to charge "Tait," who has a form of autism. In fact, it may have been his "Rain Man"-like ability to recall flight schedules that hooked the executives in the first place.
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