Prior to September 2014, the Facebook profile for Ridwan Agustin appeared to be that of any proud pilot and aviation enthusiast: He posted pictures of himself in front his plane, by the engine, on the tarmac, with his crew, inside the cockpit and in various stages of flight. Sometimes he is accompanied in the photos by his wife, a flight attendant, and their children.
Along the way, between jaunts around East Asia, he documented his training and career, which included a trip to the Airbus office in Toulouse, France, with his AirAsia team in 2009; graduation from AirAsia Academy in January 2010; and then his life as pilot for AirAsia, where he flew international flights to Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as domestic routes.
Then in September 2014, something changed. Interspersed with photos of pristine white sand beaches, motorcycle rides and goofy tarmac photos with his colleagues came postings in support of the Islamic State. He began friending and interacting online with other pro-ISIS profiles — including Indonesian foreign fighters documenting their battles in Syria or Iraq. Agustin changed his profile name to Ridwan Ahmad Indonesiy and expressed interest in joining the fight in Kobani.
While Agustin was indicating an interest in joining ISIS in Syria, he was interacting with another Indonesian pilot for a different airline who also increasingly began posting in support of the Islamic State.