French man found in cockpit of plane at Philly airport pleads guilty to fraud charge

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

Philippe Jeannard entered the plea Wednesday in federal court. A sentencing hearing hasn’t been scheduled.

Jeannard is from La Rochelle, France. Authorities say he 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 tells The Philadelphia Inquirer that Jeannard “never meant to cause any problems.”