Friday, June 9, 2017

Wrongful death lawsuit filed against American Flight Academy



HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - An attorney for the student pilot who died in a plane crash in Connecticut has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the flight school involved. 

In the lawsuit, an attorney for Feras Freitekh accuses the American Flight Academy of carelessness and negligence. Attorney Michael Peck says he is claiming there were also maintenance issues with the plane.

Freitekh was killed and his instructor Arian Prevalla was badly burned in the 2016 crash in Hartford.

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that Freitekh crashed the plane intentionally in its initial report.

Attorneys for the flight academy and the instructor did not provide comment.

The academy closed its last Connecticut location June 1.

Original article can be found here: http://www.washingtontimes.com

Federal Agents Seize Records From American Flight Academy At Hartford-Brainard Airport (KHFD) 

Federal agents with a search warrant seized records from American Flight Academy at Brainard Airport Thursday afternoon.

The agents from the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General arrived about noon and were still searching the flight school's office Thursday evening. The agents also searched an apartment building on Essex Street in Hartford where American Flight Academy students live.

Hartford police Deputy Chief Brian Foley confirmed that Hartford police assisted the federal agents in serving the search warrants, but declined to comment further. State police also assisted.


A person familiar with activity at the airport said Thursday night that when the agents arrived they announced they had a warrant and asked to see everyone's ID.


"They came in and said, 'We have a warrant, stay where you are,'" the person said.


A law enforcement official familiar with the investigation said the federal agents seized paper and computer records from the flight school offices and a flight school hangar at the airport.


The FBI has been investigating the Oct. 11, 2016, crash of an American Flight Academy aircraft in East Hartford. The flight instructor, Arian Prevalla, was burned in the crash and the student, Feras Freitekh, was killed.


American Flight Academy lost another airplane and student in a Feb. 22 crash near Tweed-New Haven Airport in East Haven.


Kevin Dehghani, a lawyer for American Flight Academy, could not be reached for comment Thursday evening. The U.S. attorney's office declined to comment.


In the East Hartford case, Prevalla told investigators that the student pilot began acting erratically as the aircraft prepared to land at Brainard Airport in Hartford, and that the crash appeared to be intentional.


The National Transportation Safety Board said its initial investigation indicated the crash was "an intentional act." As a result, the FBI took over the investigation and has not released any information since.


A final NTSB report has not been produced.


Prevalla told investigators that he screamed at Freitekh to release the airplane's controls and hit Freitekh's left hand, but Freitekh's grip remained firm and he refused to relinquish control, according to police reports and sources. Prevalla told police Freitekh continued to fight with him over control of the aircraft.


Prevalla also told investigators that Freitekh was from Jordan and was training to become a commercial pilot. Prevalla is the president of the flight academy and an investor in the Hartford Jet Center at Brainard. The plane involved in the East Hartford crash was a Piper PA-34 Seneca.


Immediately after the October crash, police and federal agents searched the Annawan Street apartment in Hartford that Freitekh shared with several other foreign flight students. The FBI also seized Freitekh's electronic devices and planned to search them. Authorities interviewed Freitekh's roommates, and cleared them, sources said.


FBI agents also interviewed several foreign students living at an Essex Street apartment owned by Prevalla and cleared them.


But federal officials have never closed their investigation into the crash. They told the state medical examiner several times that their investigation was continuing. The medical examiner eventually ruled the manner of Freitekh's death would be listed as undetermined and not suicide unless new information emerged.


Original article can be found here:  http://www.courant.com


HARTFORD — Federal authorities from the Department of Transportation were on the scene of a flight school that owned planes involved in two fatal plane crashes that happened four months apart.


Government agents were at the offices of American Flight School at Brainard Field on Thursday afternoon.


Connecticut State Police spokesperson Tpr. Kelly Grant said they assisted federal Department of Transportation officials in their investigation at the American Flight Academy today.


“There are no indications of what was being investigated or why.”


Instructors from the school were with students at the time of both crashes.


On October 11, 2016, a small plane crashed on Main Street in East Hartford. Feras Freitekh, the student pilot, was killed and Arian Prevalla, the flight instructor, was injured.  The NTSB announced their initial investigation into the crash “indicates the crash is the result of an intentional act.”


On February 22, student pilot Pablo Campos, 31, of East Haven, died in the crashed near Tweed-New Haven airport. The flight instructor, Rafayel Hany Wassef, 20, of New London, was critically injured. The NTSB said the pilot of the plane had been practicing landings and take offs, called “touch and go’s.” The student pilot and instructor had successfully performed three touch and go’s and on the last one declared a Mayday to the tower.


Read more here:  http://fox61.com


The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

NTSB Identification: ERA17FA011

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, October 11, 2016 in East Hartford, CT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/28/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA 34-200, registration: N15294
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.


On October 11, 2016, about 1530 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-34-200 twin-engine airplane, N15294, was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Hartford-Brainard Airport (HFD), Hartford, Connecticut. The flight instructor was seriously injured, and the private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to International Aviation, LLC, and operated by American Flight Academy as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions existed at the airport at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight that departed HFD about an hour earlier.


The investigation of this event is being conducted under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The NTSB provided requested technical assistance to the FBI, and any material generated by the NTSB is under the control of the FBI. The NTSB does not plan to issue a report or open a public docket.


The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The NTSB did not determine the probable cause of this event and does not plan to issue a report or open a public docket. The investigation of this event is being conducted under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.




NTSB Identification: ERA17FA112

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 22, 2017 in East Haven, CT
Aircraft: PIPER PA38, registration: N2452C
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.


On February 22, 2017, about 0957 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-38-112, N2452C, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain in East Haven, Connecticut, during the initial climb from Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN), New Haven, Connecticut. The flight instructor was seriously injured and the student pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated by American Flight Academy as an instructional flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight.


According to preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airplane was performing touch-and-go landings on runway 20, a 5,600-foot-long, 150-feet-wide, asphalt runway. After three uneventful landings, one of the pilots declared an emergency during initial climb by stating "mayday" on the air traffic control tower frequency, but he did not specify the nature of the emergency. The airplane then spun to the left, descended and impacted terrain about 1,000 feet southeast of the departure end of runway 20. Another flight instructor, who was also flying in the airport traffic pattern at HVN during the time of the accident, stated that he heard the emergency transmission and could hear the airplane's stall warning horn in the background during the transmission.


No debris path was observed and the wreckage came to rest upright in a marsh, oriented about a magnetic heading of north. Both wings remained attached to the airframe, with the ailerons and flaps attached to their respective wing. The ailerons were approximately neutral and the flaps were partially extended. The fuel caps remained secured to their respective wing fuel tanks and although both wing fuel tanks were breached during impact, several gallons of fuel remained in each wing. The right wing was buckled, while the left wing exhibited more leading edge damage and its wingtip was bent upward.


The empennage was curled up and to the left. The horizontal stabilizer, vertical stabilizer, rudder, and elevator remained intact. Flight control continuity was confirmed from all flight control surfaces to the cockpit area. Examination of the cockpit revealed that the seatbelts and shoulder harnesses remained intact. Additionally, the throttle and mixture levers were in the forward position and the magnetos were selected to both. The fuel selector was found positioned to the right main fuel tank.


The engine was partially buried in mud, but remained attached to the airframe and the propeller remained attached to the engine. The two propeller blades did not exhibit rotational damage. The wreckage was retained for further examination.


The two-seat, low-wing, fixed tricycle-gear airplane was manufactured in 1978. It was powered by a Lycoming O-235, 112-horsepower engine, equipped with a two-blade, fixed-pitch Sensenich propeller. Review of the airplane's logbooks revealed that at the time of the accident, the airframe had accumulated about 8,473 total hours of operation and the engine had accumulated 2,508 hours since major overhaul. The airplane had been operated for 78 hours since its most recent 100-hour inspection, which was completed on September 30, 2016.


The flight instructor held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land and instrument airplane. He also held a flight instructor certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine. His most recent FAA first-class medical certificate was issued on November 14, 2014. Review of the flight instructor's logbook revealed that he had accumulated a total flight experience of approximately 236 hours; of which, 12 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane. The flight instructor had flown about 28 hours during the 30-day period preceding the accident.


Review of the student pilot's logbook revealed that he had accumulated a total flight experience of approximately 17 hours; of which, 15 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane.


The reported weather at HVN, at 0953, included wind from 210° at 5 knots, visibility 10 statute miles and an overcast ceiling at 7,500 feet.

Cessna 172L, N4284Q, Koaloc LLC: Accident occurred June 08, 2017 at John C. Tune Airport (KJWN), Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA329
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, June 08, 2017 in Nashville, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/03/2017
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N4284Q
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that, during the landing roll, “a strong wind” pushed the airplane to the right and he was “unable to regain control.” The airplane impacted a taxiway sign and nosed over.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
The pilot reported that the wind was from 020° at 6 knots. The airplane landed on runway 02.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain directional control during the landing roll.

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Nashville, Tennessee

Koaloc LLC:  http://registry.faa.gov/N4284Q


Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA329 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, June 08, 2017 in Nashville, TN
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N4284Q
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that during the landing roll, "a strong wind" pushed the airplane to the right and he was "unable to regain control". The airplane impacted a taxiway sign and nosed over.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the both wings.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The pilot reported that the wind was 020° at 6 knots. The airplane landed on runway 02.




NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) —  Airport officials said there were no injuries after a small plane crashed on the runway Thursday morning.

The Metro Nashville Airport Authority said a single engine Cessna 12 with one person on board was involved in the crash at John C. Tune Airport at about 10 a.m.

Officials said the "accident resulted from a mishap during landing, causing the aircraft to flip over."

There were no reported injuries. The runway is still closed as of about 12:30 p.m.

The FAA will investigate further.

A small plane crash was reported at John C. Tune Airport in west Nashville Thursday morning.

The call came in about 10 a.m.

Initial reports suggest a plane may have flipped on the runway. No injuries are reported.

Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority statement:

The Metropolitan Airport Authority Department of Public Safety responded to an aircraft emergency at approximately 10:00 am CT at John C. Tune Airport (JWN) (runway 220) involving a general aviation flight school aircraft (single engine Cessna 172) with one individual (pilot) on board. No reported injuries at this time. The runway is currently closed (and all flight operations at JWN are on hold ) until the aircraft is removed. The cause of the incident is still under investigation.

Original article can be found here:  http://fox17.com

Bellanca 17-30 Super Viking, N7328V: Accident occurred June 08, 2017 near Front Range Airport (KFTG), Watkins, Colorado

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N7328V


NTSB Identification: CEN17LA220
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, June 08, 2017 in Bennett, CO
Aircraft: BELLANCA 17 30, registration: N7328V
Injuries: 2 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On June 8, 2017, about 1340 mountain daylight time, a Bellanca 17-30 airplane, N7328V, made an emergency landing in a field near the Front Range Airport (FTG), Denver, CO. The commercial rated pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan had been filed. The local flight originated from FTG. 

A review of the air traffic control recording revealed that the airplane was flying in the traffic pattern at FTG when the pilot reported a loss of engine power. Another pilot in the traffic pattern observed the accident airplane in a field. 

A postaccident examination by the responding Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed damage to the airplane's firewall. The fuel selector was positioned to left main fuel tank. The left main tank contained less than 2 gallons of fuel. During the recovery process, the other 3 fuel tanks were drained and about 45 gallons of fuel was recovered. 


The airplane has been retained for further examination.


WATKINS, Colo. –  The Federal Aviation Administration confirms neither of the two people aboard a single-engine plane that crashed near the Front Range Airport Thursday were seriously injured.

The Bennett Fire Department responded to the crash and the pilot and one passenger were transported from the scene in an ambulance. Their injuries were non life-threatening. 

Investigators are working to piece together what caused the Bellanca Super Viking to crash. It happened about 2.5 miles northeast of Front Range Airport.

Original article can be found here: http://www.9news.com

WATKINS, Colo. – Two people were injured Thursday afternoon when a private, single-engine airplane crashed at the Front Range Airport.

The crash happened shortly after 1:30 p.m. Thursday. 

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office says the extent of the two people’s injuries is unknown at this time.

A sheriff’s office spokesperson said it appeared as though the plane missed the runway when landing, though it’s unclear to what extent the plane was damaged.

Original article can be found here: http://www.thedenverchannel.com

Beech 95-B55 (T42A) Baron, N3677U: Incident occurred June 08, 2017 at Lake in the Hills Airport (3CK), McHenry County, Illinois

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Plaines, Illinois

http://registry.faa.gov/N3677U

Aircraft landed gear up.

Date: 08-JUN-17
Time: 16:00:00Z
Regis#: N3677U
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: BE95
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: LAKE IN THE HILLS
State: ILLINOIS




LAKE IN THE HILLS – The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating what caused a twin-engine plane to land at Lake in the Hills Airport without its landing gear Thursday morning.

Neither the pilot nor the passenger of the Beech 95-B55 (T42A) Baron – both of whom were with the airport’s on-site maintenance business – were injured in the crash, which happened shortly after 

11 a.m. Thursday. The airport reopened about 1:15 p.m., Airport Manager Michael Peranich said.

While the Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department was called to the scene, there was no fire and no spilled fluids as a result of the crash, Deputy Chief Christopher Olsen said.

The plane had just undergone its annual maintenance at Finefield Aviation Inc. – it was not in the shop for any specific problem – and two employees had taken it out, company President Jim Finefield said. He said the pilot attempted to deploy the landing gear, but it did not come down.

“As of right now, we don’t know what happened,” Finefield said.

The plane, built in 1980, is registered to an owner in Brookfield, Wisconsin, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

Original article can be found here:   http://www.nwherald.com

McKenna SD-1A, N31313: Accident occurred June 07, 2017 at Dodge County Airport (UNU), Juneau, Wisconsin

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N31313

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA224
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, June 07, 2017 in Juneau, WI
Aircraft: MCKENNA SD 1A, registration: N31313
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On June 7, 2017, about 930 central daylight time, an amateur-built McKenna SD 1A airplane, N31313, was substantially damaged during a precautionary landing at Dodge County Airport (UNU), Juneau, Wisconsin. The private pilot was not injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight plan had been filed for the flight. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.


According to the pilot, immediately after takeoff the left wing felt "extremely heavy" and required an "exceptional amount of right aileron" to maintain level flight. The pilot was able to fly the airplane around the traffic pattern and perform a precautionary landing on runway 20. During the landing the airplane bounced and turned hard to the right. The left main landing gear collapsed and the engine mount was substantially damaged.

Incident occurred June 02, 2017 in Crystal Falls, Iron County, Michigan

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan

http://registry.faa.gov/N3281Y

Aircraft on landing, went off the runway.

Date: 02-JUN-17
Time: 14:50:00Z
Regis#: N3281Y
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA18
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: CRYSTAL FALLS
State: MICHIGAN

Cessna 208B Super Cargomaster, N727FX, Federal Express: Incident occurred June 07, 2017 at Cherry Capital Airport (KTVC), Traverse City, Michigan

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan

Aircraft on departure, experienced a birdstrike. Continued to destination, landed without incident.

Federal Express Corporation: http://registry.faa.gov/N727FX

Date: 07-JUN-17
Time: 12:52:00Z
Regis#: N727FX
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: C208
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: OTHER
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Aircraft Operator: FEDERAL EXPRESS
Flight Number: IRO9727
City: TRAVERSE CITY
State: MICHIGAN

Piper PA-24-180, N7024P: Incident occurred June 08, 2017 at Quad City International Airport (KMLI), Moline, Rock Island County, Illinois

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Plaines, Illinois

http://registry.faa.gov/N7024P

Aircraft landed gear up.

Date: 08-JUN-17
Time: 00:30:00Z
Regis#: N7024P
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA24
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: MOLINE
State: ILLINOIS

Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain, N323AP, Dingman Marine Inc: Incident occurred June 01, 2017 at Orlando Executive Airport (KORL), Orange County, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida

Dingman Marine Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N323AP


Aircraft on landing, struck an alligator.


Date: 01-JUN-17

Time: 06:15:00Z
Regis#: N323AP
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA31
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: ORLANDO
State: FLORIDA

ORLANDO, Fla. -  A pilot fatally struck an alligator last week while landing a plane at Orlando Executive Airport.

The pilot said his plane hit the gator, but he wouldn't provide further details because he said the Federal Aviation Administration is still investigating the incident.

Another pilot, Brad Pierce, posted a photo on Facebook, calling the incident "one of the craziest things I've ever seen in all my years in aviation."

Pierce said in the post, which has been shared almost 2,000 times, that a pilot was crossing a runway when an 11-foot gator jumped up and struck the wing of his Navajo as he was landing.

"The gator was killed instantly, and the aircraft sustained damage to the wing," Pierce said.

Eyewitness News has since learned the pilot is Rick Crose, a pilot in Orlando.

The wing of the Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain was damaged by the gator when it hit the plane. The pilot was not hurt.

The airport is bordered by Lake Underhill and Lake Barton.

A spokesperson for the airport told Eyewitness News that Crose was landing on Runway-7 at night when he noticed a large object in the center line. As he touched down, he hit the gator.

"I've never seen one on a taxiway or a runway. GOAA does a really nice job of ensuring there is a nice harmony and balance between nature and man and the machines that are out there. So it is insane. It is absolutely crazy to see something like this," Pierce said.

Story, video and photo:  http://www.wftv.com