FAA Final Report Details East Hartford Plane Crash | NBC Connecticut

FAA Final Report Details East Hartford Plane Crash

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (Published Tuesday, April 18, 2017)

    NBC Connecticut has tracked down the final Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) report on a fatal plane crash in East Hartford. 

    It was the first of two deadly plane crashes in five months involving student pilots at the same flight school; the first was a student from the American Flight Academy in Hartford and another from their previous location in East Haven.

    Shortly after the first deadly East Hartford crash in October, federal investigators called it intentional. “Pilot induced error” was identified as the primary operational factor, according to the final FAA report obtained exclusively by NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters. 

    The official cause is determined by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which preliminary findings don't reveal any anomalies with the plane, engines, or air worthiness.

    It is unclear whether the pilot in question was survivor and instructor Arian Prevalla or his student, who was killed in the crash, Feras Freitekh.

    Secondary factors include “hit known object", "loss of control" mismanaged controls and stall/spin.

    Terry Keller is the chief flight instructor at Premier Flight Center in Hartford.

    "Now that can be the pilot made an error or an omission or something intentional it doesn't speak to that which leaves the world still open," Keller said. 

    Direct competitor Keller is familiar with American Flight Academy and its owner, Prevalla. Another take away of the report, he said, is how slowly the plane was traveling: 400 feet above at 67 knots.

    “If they were practicing a single engine training maneuver than it would actually be slower than you should operate the airplane in order to keep control of it, and the fact the report attributes it to a loss of control is certainly significant, and doesn't specify if airplane stalled or if was a loss of control operating on one engine,” Keller added.

    Prevalla previously told police about a fight in the cockpit.

    "Prevalla said he had to scream at him and hit his left hand, but freitekh's hand was firm. Prevalla said he yelled at him to give him the controls and to pull the flaps up. Freitekh wouldn't let Prevalla take the controls and fought with him,” from a statement provided by the East Hartford Police.

    NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters have also learned Eversource is billing American Flight Academy $130,704.28 to fix the light pole and wires taken down in the crash.

    We also have new details from the flight school's second deadly crash, this one in East Haven. The FAA’s final report is not finished, but the papers note a possible mechanical problem.

    “They’ve keyed in on a problem with fuel system but they haven't decided yet whether that was a cause of the ax or was it something that evolved during it and made it a problem the pilot couldn't solve or they didn't have time to resolve,” Keller reminded.

    NBC Connecticut has reached out to Prevalla's attorney and the NTSB for comment but have not heard back. 

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