T Nation



Anybody seen this movie? It's about a 17 yr old kid who successfully passes as a Pan Am Pilot, a Doctor (a supervising doctor nonetheless), and a lawyer, all with no experience and no knowledge of the skills of each profession.

In the end of the movie, it says the guy and the FBI agent who caught him are still friends today, and as such implies it was a real story...

 How the fuck does ANYBODY pass as an Airline pilot without knowing how to fly? A copilot is responsible for talking to the ATC, charting out the routes, putting the frequency in the radio nav equipment, calling out the altitude when landing and a whole host of things no one could ever learn to do just like that. He would surely get caught tryin gto do the co pilot's job, but he didnt. Same thing as a doctor. 

 When he saw the FBI agent in his apartment he acted as if he were a secret service agent as well. He said the trick was to focus the other person's attention on the 'pin stripes' - in other words, when you look like a pilot, act like a pilot, and focus the persons attention in something else, you wont get caught. F. ex., when he was doing his supervising doctor at the hospital, he was called to treat a bad patient. He had no idea how to treat anything. But he acted like a doctor, and he simply ascked one of the doctors on duty for his opinion, and then asked the second doctor if he concurred. He then said 'That's very good. Well, it seems Im not needed here anymore. Carry on.'

Anyhow, he managed to act as these things and never get caught by the airline, the hospital, or the law office he worked for. I cannot believe anyone would be able to do this.


Catch Me If You Can is the title of the movie.


The movie Diesel refers to is 'Catch me if you can' and the guy in question is Frank Abagnale Jr. I saw the movie just over a week ago so it is fresh in my mind, I also did a bit of a search on the net as the story intrigued me.

First it is based on a true story.

He posed as a Pan Am pilot and only flew on non Pan Am flights so was never actually behind the controls.

I recall reading that FAJ was reluctant that LDC was suave enough to play him in the movie but once completed was pleased with the result.

His business site is

and his book is called The art of the steal.


Catch Me If You Can? It is a true story.He never actually flew a plane.I'm sure it was imbellished somewhat but for the most part true.


The guy was just in town giving a talk on security against fraud. He's the real deal. I'm sure some of the movie is Hollywood but he pretty well did those things.

Self confidence and the ability to distract people can get you a long ways. People tend to see what they expect and so a good costume, poise, and few key words and you can get by 98% of them. It doesn't hurt that the guy has way over average intelligence.


Based on the book he wrote about his life. The guys are right, he never once flew the plane, he just deadheaded. But he did supervise in a hospital and work as an ADA. And write a bunch of bad checks. Most of the technology and security procedures that exists today to combat this sort of stuff was either developed to stop him, or developed by him. He did all this in the early 60's, so standards were a bit more lax. Best part of it all? He was doing it to meet girls. Read the book, great stuff.


It's simply amazing. You have to give a lot of credit to the guy, regardless of his criminal activities in the past. If you can manage to convince everybody you're a pilot for Pan Am, and be so smart so as not to get caught, you're definitely something else.


"all with no experience and no knowledge of the skills of each profession."

Dude, diesel, remember in the movie when Tom Hanks asks him "How did you pass the Bar Exam in Louisiana?" And he finally got him to tell him and he said "I studied for it." So he did know the skills for the one job that he faked.


I don't think it's that hard to convince the 'willing' of anything.Have you ever seen the profiles of those 'sweet heart swindlers'? It's always some fat,bald old guy bullshitting his way into some widow's heart and taking her life's savings.Some people are just better liars than others...and some people are just plan fucking gullible.Probably the same type of people who believe all those internet urban legends that are always flying around.