American Eagle First Officer Timothy Martins
Jim Watkins: Questions are swirling tonight around a pilot who flies out of Laguardia, JFK and Newark. At issue are some tall tails he told a magazine about his past. Monica Morales joins us now with more on this, Monica.
Monica Morales: Jim the story is baffling because the young man has very impressive credentials but according to a magazine report, it appears he made up a few more. We went out to Long Island to get the truth---separate fact from fiction.
24-year-old American Eagle pilot, Timothy Martins was profiled in the April edition of the Air Line Pilots Association Magazine, for industry insiders. A flattering piece---if it were true. It turns out a lot of what Martins is quoted as saying about his resume was, well, in the clouds.
While he does have the required FAA certification for his job as a first officer, in the article he says, quote, "I was furloughed after 8 months, so I joined the New Jersey Air National Guard." and flies F-16s.
While on his trail in Long Island I called the NJ Air National Guard. (Chyron graphic says "Voice of Yvonne Mays Spokesperson, NJ Air National Guard.)
"Martins never flew F-16s for you?"
"You don't know who he is?"
"So, basically what he was saying was a lie?"
Martins is quoted as saying he worked for the New York City Fire Department, saying "It's an easy second job to hold because I can work a flexible schedule that fits in with my flying." Not true. The FDNY spokesperson said, quote, "He's not a firefighter, he has never worked for this department." (Chyron graphic says "Frank Dwyer, FDNY Spokesperson")
In the movie Catch Me If You Can, Leonardo DiCaprio plays a con man posing as an pilot. In Martin's case, well, he appears to be a pilot posing as everything else.
His neighbor, who does not want to be identified, says it's sad.
Q: "You don't believe that he could lie."
A: "No. No, he's not that kind of person"
We tried to talk to Martins at his Suffolk County home today---three times. But his neighbor, who grew up with him, well, did come to his defense.
"He's always been there and everything, I mean, he's been a part of the Nesconset Fire Department like, I think since he was able to, and everything, like, he was, he came, when my son actually had a seizure."
He volunteered here at the Nesconset Fire Department for years and those that know him said that he was a fine firefighter. They don't understand why he would embellish an already impressive career.
"He has brother's still belongs to the department, one of them is going to be a captain here, in April, at this next installation. And, ah, the two of them were always fine firefighters."
And according to published reports, he has been grounded by American Airlines because of all this, the airline has not returned our calls. We have also left messages with the magazine reporter. A lot of the neighbors can't even believe that he would do something like this.
JW: So many people are saying he's a good guy
MM: That's right.
JW: Is there any chance that the magazine reporter got the facts wrong, making him look bad?
MM: You know, it's a good question, Jim, and we did reach out to her, via email, so hopefully she'll reach back to us, But, you know, the bottom line is, if he did do this, why? What would be the motivation? Because he sounds like a great guy.
JW: And there seems like there is such a good likelihood of getting caught. Because the information would be out there for everybody to see, and..
MM: Everything is out there on the web, only a phone call away.