When the chopper arrived, Faid was meeting with his brother in the visiting room. A third man was holding the pilot at gunpoint, union members said.
French media reported that the three men took the pilot hostage at a flying club in the Paris region. He was later released with no physical injuries.
The helicopter was found burned in the town of Garges-les-Gonesse, in the northern suburbs of Paris. Faid was believed to have left by car along with his accomplices.
French prosecutors opened an investigation into the escape. Investigators were questioning Faid's brother on Sunday afternoon.
The 46-year-old Faid was serving time for the 2010 death Newport Cigarettes Suppliers, all Quality Newport Cigarettes of a young police officer killed during a botched robbery. In the 1990s, he led a gang involved in robbing banks and armored vans. He was arrested in 1998 after three years on the run in Switzerland and Israel, according to French media reports.