[Editors note:] Excerpt from the CNN Air safety message board on http://community.cnn.com/
Rob Plenert - Tuesday, 02/09/99, 62428pm (#4151 of 4170)
This site provides an excellent forum for people to express their opinions and to
discuss theories pertaining to Air Safety - particularly the Swissair 111 crash.
There have been recent situations where certain participants have posted
information that is misleading. This in itself is occasionally acceptable, because
after all, we are human, and nobody has all of the answers. Where it becomes a
problem, is when the participants suggest they can back up their statements due
to direct experience in their field. If pressed, it becomes appearent that's not
true, and they simply are not the person they claim to be. Such is the case of
two individuals under the names 'AVIATOR_UA', and 'JOHN FAZIO'.
Aviator_ua has been very active on two other message boards -
AIRLINERS.NET, and the YAHOO SR111 CLUB; while John Fazio was until
recently, actively involved in this board.
At first thought they appear to be the same person. Both have made statements
claimed as fact, and when challenged, neither can provide direct proof of their
statements. Both have deliberately IMPLIED that they were professional
commercial pilots, while errors in various statements suggest otherwise.
Rob Plenert - Tuesday, 02/09/99, 62647pm (#4152 of 4170)
As I said before, normally it wouldn't be a problem because this is the Internet.
But in the case of Aviator_ua, he/she has had numerous discussions on the
Yahoo site DIRECTLY WITH family members of victims of the crash.
Aviator_ua discussions often appear inflammatory, and due to his constant
involvement, I believe they have significantly influenced the tone of that board.
Imagine being a victim's relative, attempting to gleen information from an
aviation expert - such as an experienced commercial pilot - only to find out that
he's something like a shoe-salesman. (Sorry those of you in that trade. I'm only
making a point.)
Well, enough said on my concern. Before I tell you what's going on, I'll preface
it with a few disclaimers
1. By naming these two people, I do not intend to discredit them. I only wish to
show that they are not who they claimed to be.
2. If I am incorrect in identifying them, then I appologize unreservedly up front.
3. I am making no suggestion by providing links that any other persons or
businesses are involved.
Rob Plenert - Tuesday, 02/09/99, 63007pm (#4153 of 4170)
Besides the incident on this board where John Fazio was challenged for some of
the information he provided, I noticed on AIRLINERS.NET, and the SR111
CLUB message boards that Aviator_ua was also being challenged about his
In one of his posts he claimed to be a 44 year old commercial pilot, and his dad
had also been a pilot with United Airlines. In the case of Aviator_ua's profile, he
stated he was involved in aviation based out of New York. So, given that
background, first I'll show you how I tracked down Aviator_ua. Here's the trail
I followed. The links in each sub-heading are my proof
Rob Plenert - Tuesday, 02/09/99, 63304pm (#4154 of 4170)
1. Here's AVIATOR_UA's first mistake - using the name Kevin Mahoney, a
commercial pilot from New York
2. Next, using the name Kevin Mahoney again, and still involved in the aviation
industry in New York, he posting using a different email address
3. Searching the web with his new email address, I found a comment that Kevin
sent to the Jerusalem Post. The problem with that is that his name is now
suddenly 'Kevin Crotty'.
4. A search of 'Kevin Crotty' places him in a Travel Agency in Yonkers New
York. Here Kevin is listed as a 'Computer' staff member. And get this - just try
to guess who the president of the Travel Agency is?...None other than Mr. John
5. So, you were right after all, John Fazio and Aviator_ua are the same person!
Well now that thought I found him, I remembered that he posted his dad was a
United Airlines pilot. So I searched again, and found an aviation flight learning
center in New York, that photo-documented a field-trip by some students to
United Airlines. (The learning centre offers outreach programs to high-school
students who want to get into aviation as a career. They provide aviation
training, flight time in small aircraft, and they have a small simulator.) In one of
the photos, you can see there's a real Captain Ray Mahoney, who surprisingly
looks good for being someone's 44-year-old dad.
Rob Plenert - Tuesday, 02/09/99, 63629pm (#4155 of 4170)
This trail has an erie resemblance to the movie Usual Suspects, where the main
character employs the identity of many people around him, into fabricating his
Like I say, I could be way off base here. Or else, this character has many more
layers he's hidden behind, and poor Kevin Crotty is also being used. I'll let you
make up your minds on that. I'd rather not dig deeper, simply because it's not
necessary. Suffice to say that we should be wary of people who have way too
much time on their hands. If nothing else, it makes you think about the
'electronic fingerprint' we all leave behind us on the internet.
I'll leave you with one of Aviator_ua's famous quotes again from the
AIRLINERS.NET message board (Post 02-03-99 0233) "...there is no
substitute for being yourself and being honest..."
Michael Zolkiewski - Tuesday, 02/09/99, 72744pm (#4156 of 4170)
Rob, I am speechless. And you discovered all this from your desk overlooking
the PAcific (I guess). That's the power of Internet! As I said before, this whole
thing is a dream for a Ph.D. candidate in sociology.
By the way, Aviator's profile at YAhoo has been updated today. No new info
though... (CNN did not let me post the link to his profile, but you know how to
Robert Foothorap - Tuesday, 02/09/99, 75931pm (#4157 of 4170)
Rob Plenert 2/9/99 636pm
Rob, what an amazing piece of work. I suspect there will be more to this story.
This is a like reading a novel.
Cecil - Tuesday, 02/09/99, 84909pm (#4158 of 4170)
Rob....or should I say "Cyber Cop." Some acomplishment, some story, some
poor soul. I hope that the poster was an employee and not the principle of a
travel agency and a professional in the industry.
Now, I can't help but ponder if any caprice travel ticketed paxs were on board.
Rob Plenert 2/9/99 636pm
Rob, even though I saw the same trail of evidence when you sent that message
to me yesterday, I am still extremely impressed by the way you managed to
track these people down.
That's incredible. And also frightening, both from the point of view of the
electronic fingerprint we all leave behind (as you mentioned), and from the point
of view that people would really do something like this hiding behind
questionable identities, pretending to be something and someone that they really
are not, for unknown purposes.
I leave it up to the sociologists and psychologists (and your own imagination!) as
to just what people like this one (these two?) actually hope to achieve Why
would someone go around all over the internet, pretending to be a pilot, stirring
up hatred, spreading incorrect information, and generally creating chaos, anger
and heartache? I cannot fathom why someone would do that! It makes no sense
to me unless they hoped to get something out of it Money? Revenge? An ego
trip? Who knows what the real reason might be. I have my own opinion, but I'll
keep it to myself.
Suffice it to say that this kind of twisted mentality has done a lot of damage,
both here and on the other boards you mentioned. A lot of people really believed
in that mis-information, many of them family members of the victims, and now
they won't know what to think any more, or who to believe. Its sad to think
about that. What a world we live in!
China King - Tuesday, 02/09/99, 92047pm (#4162 of 4170)
Totally awesome, Roblock Holmes. That takes some digging.
Look, I found something else interesting. You'll need two browser windows to
do this justice. Open one to
and the second one to
and have a good look.