American Flight Academy Branch Shuts Down Following Fatal Crashes - NBC Connecticut

American Flight Academy Branch Shuts Down Following Fatal Crashes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (Published Monday, April 3, 2017)

    One location of a Connecticut Flight School connected to two recent fatal crashes has shut down.

    American Flight Academy (AFA) is no longer operating out of Robinson Aviation in East Haven at Tweed New Haven airport.

    In addition to two crashes resulting in the deaths of two student pilots, there was another scare just last week at Tweed airport and a fourth incident last December at American Flight Academy out of Hartford’s Brainard Airport.

    American Flight Academy no longer has an office at Robinson Aviation in East Haven, which is the fixed base operator at Tweed New Haven Airport. It’s unclear when the flight school closed down at this location.

    The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters have learned, the Federal Aviation Administration is now investigating an incident that happened last week at Tweed, involving American Flight Academy, which used to be called Connecticut Flight Academy.

    According to an FAA spokesperson, two certified pilots on board this Piper PA-28 were having engine issues. One declared an emergency after leaving runway 20 at Tweed.

    The plane returned to Tweed, where it landed safely, without injuries.

    In February, a student pilot died when an American Flight Academy plane crashed just after taking off from Tweed. The instructor survived.

    And another student pilot at the flight school died in a crash October 11, 2016 while flying in and out of Brainerd airport.

    Dispatch: “911, what's the address of the emergency?”

    Caller: “400 Main Street, east Hartford ct. an airplane just crashed.”

    AFA Owner Arian Prevalla survived that crash that federal investigators deemed intentional early on.

    According to East Hartford police reports, Prevalla described a fight in the cockpit, adding the victim, Feras Freitekh, "may have done this on purpose." Police said Prevalla told a doctor this at St. Francis Hospital where Prevalla was treated for burns the day of that crash.

    NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters have learned of a fourth incident. On Dec. 23, 2016 a student pilot crashed on the runway at Brainard Airport in Hartford. He was flying to plane solo from Poughkeepsie, New York, back to the American Flight Academy. The student reporting to the NTSB, "on touch down, the aircraft bounced and the nose gear hit with a side load causing the nose gear to collapse."

    By email the Attorney for the flight school's owner told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters

    “The student pilot encountered an unexpected crosswind upon landing. This is not an uncommon occurrence at flight schools. There was minor damage to the aircraft, and thankfully minor injuries to the student. As the report indicates, weather reports were provided to the student pilot." Attorney Kevin Dehghani emailed the  NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters in March.

    NBC Connecticut is waiting to hear back from the owner of Robinson Aviation and Arian Prevalla's attorney.

    In the past, Attorney Dehghani has reiterated to NBC Connecticut his clients have conducted thousands of hours of flight hours with hundreds of students. That they have passed every inspection by the FAA and their maintenance logs are always up to date. Adding, Dehghani stated that they've never been cited by any agency for any violations.

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