Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against American Flight Academy | NBC Connecticut

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against American Flight Academy

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    A lawsuit has been filed against American Flight Academy after the death of a flight student in a crash in East Hartford last fall.

    (Published Wednesday, June 7, 2017)

    A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the flight school involved in a deadly plane crash on Main Street in East Hartford.

    American Flight Academy (AFA) shut down its last Connecticut location at Hartford’s Brainard Airport on June 1.

    Federal investigators said Feras Freitekh is the flight student who died after the plane he was a student pilot in crashed last October. His instructor and owner of the AFA, Arian Prevalla, survived the horrific crash.

    This lawsuit claims Freitekh wasn't adequately trained or prepared to deal with inflight challenges and that American Flight Academy failed to implement related policies, guidelines and curriculum.

    “Arian Prevalla is responsible, as far as I'm concerned, either personally and or as the owner of the American Flight Academy,” attorney Michael Peck told NBC Connecticut.

    Prevalla is not personally named in the wrongful death suit against AFA, which alleges carelessness and negligence.

    Freitekh was killed October 11, 2016 when the Piper PA-34 crashed in East Hartford, igniting a ball of fire on busy Main Street. Prevalla suffered serious burns, but made a full recovery.

    “I am claiming there were maintenance issues with the plane, and that will come out further as the lawsuit unfolds,” Peck told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters.

    Federal investigators concluded it was pilot-induced error, however which of the two pilots on board, Freitekh or Prevalla, was never identified.

    According to a report from East Hartford police, a hospital doctor said Prevalla told him there were no problems with the plane and, “the pilot driving the plane at the time of the crash was making mistakes and may have done this on purpose.”

    The report notes Prevalla said Freitekh took over the plane’s controls and refused to let go, even after being ordered to do so. The report also said Prevalla had to scream and hit the student's hand to gain control.

    “As I say, it could be mechanical failure or there could have been a lack of supervision or a lack of taking control,” Peck said.

    Peck believes this death was preventable and disputes allegations Freitekh may have crashed the plane intentionally.

    “Voice messages made just a few minutes before he boarded the plane will speak volumes," according to Peck.

    The attorney said the voice messages were left by Freitekh for a friend, minutes before the doomed flight and showed he was in a positive frame of mind.

    The suit alleges plane maintenance problems. Part of the lawsuit reads, "including but not limited to, the engine, propeller, avionics, airframe, instrumentation, landing gear and lawful inspections.

    NBC Connecticut reached out to the attorney for Prevalla and American Flight Academy and we are told they do not comment on pending litigation.