Chinese student pilot killed in propeller accident at Castle Airport

flight_log_bookA 26-year-old Chinese student pilot of Sierra Flight School at Castle Air Force Base was killed on Saturday when he ran into the spinning propeller of his Cessna 150 airplane.

The whirring propeller struck him in the head which caused his death immediately.

The Merced County Sheriff’s Department said the student pilot, was from China. Sherrif further revealed that victim flew only with a second student, which violated Federal Aviation Administration regulations requiring an adult flight instructor to accompany a student, the sheriff’s department said.

A group picture of student pilots of Sierra Flight School
A group picture of student pilots of Sierra Flight School

Sierra Flight School is known for large community of foreign student pilots of which majority comes from China. This accident shocked the students & staff at the Sierra Academy of Aeronautics. The chief pilot says this is the first ground-based fatality in the school’s 44 year history. And authorities say it could have been avoided.

Tom MacKenzie from the Merced Co. Sheriff’s Dept. said the students flew together to Visalia, then switched seats in the dual-control, two-seat plane. “Both of them were certified to fly solo or with an instructor, but they’re not allowed to be together. The duo’s decision to fly together may have contributed to the student’s death.

When they landed at Castle Air Force Base, they spotted a fuel truck and believed the driver would report them to the flight school if they spotted him. The passenger, who had been in the primary pilot seat, took off on foot while the victim got out of the co-pilot seat and came around the front of the plane. Deputies believe that while the student was attempting to get back into the pilot seat he “misjudged the distance” and was struck in the head by the propeller.

The two students’ names were not released while authorities sought to contact the Chinese Consulate and, through it, their parents.

While contacted, Jim Murray of the Federal Aviation Administration said affirmed that a student pilot is not allowed to carry a passenger.

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Shatterred dreams. Kingfisher Airlines frozen pilot recruitments of ASA passed outs

It is very unfortunate what has happenned to the students of American School of Aviation but now it is turning out to be more worse for those already passed out from ASA. On-going slump in Aviation Sector all over the world has forced India’s second largest Domestic carrier Kingfisher Airlines to freeze current and further pilot recruitments and Airline is not honouring the ‘letters of intent’ it issued for the position of co-pilots earlier this year, mostly passed out students from American School of Aviation, according to the Indian media reports.

Young pilots, who received letters of intent from Kingfisher Airlines promising them co-pilot positions once they completed Type Rating training in American School of Aviation say, several of them have successfully completed their course and have got Indian licences, but have not heard from the airline regarding the promised job.

”They have been told that the airline do not require crew. The communication was given to students as and when they completed course and contacted the airline for the promised job,” says a source.

A young pilot who had been issued this letter says, ”The letter was issued to me in April and it clearly stated that I had to bear the course fee at the American School of Aviation, a one & only institute recognized by the airline. Since a job at the end of the course was guaranteed I coughed up USD 72,000 for this training programme. But after I came back, I contacted Kingfisher but I was asked to stay put and that they would get back to me, which has not happened so far.”

When contacted, a Kingfisher spokesperson – appearing hassled – said the airline would comment on the matter after a day. He referred to the statement issued by the airline on Saturday on the salary cut issue that spoke of the turbulence in the aviation industry meriting reduction in the capacity deployed.

‘All these letters say that the airline would absorb us once foreign flight licence is converted into Indian and we are found ‘skilled enough’,” avers a pilot, who too holds an Letter of Intent. He says this ”skilled enough” criteria that airlines could use against them.

The present job crisis seems routed in the massive recruitments that several airlines undertook in the year 2006 when many pilots undertaking training in India were called for placements. However, no airline is undertaking such placement exercises now. The placements in 2006 included a psychometric test and a personal interview following which letters of intent promising a job in the airline were offered. ”Of 107 people who had appeared for these interviews, 45 were selected and I was one of them,” says a pilot who had appeared for Kingfisher interview.

In 2007 when these cadets were training in American School of Aviation, senior officials of the airline visited them there also. American School of Aviation used to run 12 month course named Kingfisher Airlines Programme (KFA) India, offering special discounts to KFA employees, their siblings or children. During the programme, they get free housing facility, which estimated to cost around $3,500.


A view of North American Institute of Aviation’s Notice Board

from Benjamin J. Creel, President

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Conway, South Carolina  – The North American Institute of Aviation of South Carolina, Inc., located at the Conway/Horry County Airport, regrets to announce a significant layoff of its staff members effective September 5, 2008. This layoff will result in the cessation of most training and flight activities conducted by the Institute. It will not result in the closure of North American Institute of Aviation, Conway/Horry County Airport, or the delivery of fuel and maintenance services to aircraft based at Conway/Horry County Airport or to transient aircraft.

North American Institute of Aviation has been located at Conway since 1978, having been founded in Hammonton, New Jersey in 1972. Since 1978, North American Institute of Aviation has trained thousands of local, domestic, and international professional pilots and Airframe and Powerplant technicians, provided service to thousands of transient and local aircraft, has employed hundreds of staff members, both local, national, and international in origin, and has had an impact on the local economy in the tens of millions of dollars. North American Institute of Aviation’s leadership and management intend to work with the Federal Aviation Administration, the South Carolina Department of Airports, the Horry County Department of Airports, and its customers and vendors to ensure that all necessary services at the airport are uninterrupted during this temporary downsizing, in the hopes that full staffing and full-scale operations can be resumed in the not too distant future.

Benjamin J. Creel, President

North American Institute of Aviation flight school in Conway shuts down abruptly.

It seems that outcome of American School of Aviation affairs has encouraged the authorities at The North American Institute of Aviation flight school in Conway to close down its doors indefinitely Friday, giving notice to staff in their pay checks that their services would no longer be needed. I would rather look at it as a first aviation school who took the initiative of following the footsteps of Prince & Reny very boldly. Result is same like ASA, students and staff is clueless and school authorities is playing hide & Seek with Journalists and students.

Many stranded students have already enrolled into automotive schools all over country. As aviation school all over the country are finding it hard to continue their business, demand for automotive schools is growing by the day as automotive industry is unfazed by the global slowdown.

“This layoff will result in the cessation of most training and flight activities conducted by the Institute. It will not result in the closure of North American Institute of Aviation, Conway/Horry County Airport, or the delivery of fuel and maintenance services to aircraft based at Conway/Horry County Airport or to transient aircraft,” wrote president of the school, Benjamin Creel, in a release.

Creel and the school’s director of operations, Dan Flaherty, did not return phone calls for comment Monday.

Students at the school, many of whom are from foreign countries and living in the United States on student visas, were told Friday that the school would be ceasing its operations. Both foreign and domestic students were left wondering Monday if and when they would get their remaining tuition and expense money returned or it will be the same story like American School of Aviation of whose students are still fighting it out there.

Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier said the school’s lease at the county airport was not scheduled to run out until May 2009. The county is in the process of rebidding the lease on the airport property, which includes most of the hangar space, as well as the take off ramp. She said NAIA is eligible to rebid the lease.

Students sensed that there was something wrong when they were given credit cards to fuel the planes at other locations than the on-campus airport depot.

“Not too long ago they gave each of us a credit card to fill up the planes on fuel,” one of the student said. “Those cards filled up quickly and a few days before Friday, the school told us they were basically out of fuel.”

Instructors told foreign students that the school is trying to work out visa agreements to allow them to transfer to the Pelican Flight Training Center in Florida.

The American students are not part of that agreement.

Students were told they had 30 days to vacate the apartments on Airport Road in Conway, which are not owned by the school but are paid for through a contract between the realty company and the school on a monthly basis.

A search of Bankruptcy Court Records filed in the past six months showed that neither Creel nor NAIA had filed for bankruptcy. Creel also owns Creel Oil Co. and a distributor for Shell Oil.

Karim Sadok Chatty, NAIA dropout of 1996
Karim Sadok Chatty, NAIA dropout of 1996

Calls to the college and to staff to ask about whether student money would be refunded were not returned Monday.

Horry County police stationed two officers at the school through the weekend, in case of unrest from students.

North American Institute of Aviation first came into the news in year 2002 when one of their dropouts Kerim Sadok Chatty, a Tunisian was arrested with a gun in his carry-on luggage at the small Swedish airport of Vasteras near Stockholm on August 28, 2002 as he tried to board a Ryan Air flight to London’s Stansted Airport. He had flunked out of NAIA  in 1996. Chatty was later released after spending a one month in total isolation for lack of evidence.

Open letter to the parents of victimized ASA students

Dear Parents of victimized ASA students:

I have no doubt the sentiment and plea expressed in the letters addressed to the respected Mr. Vayalar Ravi, the Minister sent by many of you represent the collective emotions of those who were caught up in the recent ASA fiasco of horrendous order of magnitude. My heart goes out to you all during this time of enduring hardship.

If I may, I’d like to ask if any one of you ever received a reply from the Minister’s office for coming forward with a relief offer of any kind let alone simply acknowledging the receipt of your letter so far?…….thought so.

While I sincerely hope a meaningful relief is forthcoming from either government, it seems that to happen in this instance is far less likely much to everyone’s disappointment.

While I am firmly convinced what the duo Prince and Reny have done to the students amounts to a criminal fraud and they must be brought to justice, I am also firmly convinced that the recovery of the lost student’s funds should be vigorously pursued by all means by instituting the most formidable consume fraud case in the history of Indian jurisprudence against ASA as well KFA as a plausible accomplice by knowingly or unknowingly in aiding and abetting the Ponzi scheme then run by ASA.

It won’t happen overnight and no one can do it alone. It takes a collective determination and intention (will) to follow through until the objective is achieved. Never mind the government assistance, it’s not coming except in a form of meaningless lip services and dancing and skirting around the issue.

Why not organizing the ASA student family group in India by contacting and enlisting alliances with other families, consumer advocacy groups, legal outreach groups and likes all the while promoting public media attention?

It will succeed eventually as long as the effort continues. Just expecting someone else to do it won’t work because nothing will ever get done in that way. Everyone must get involved and take an active role however small that may be in a collective effort for a common cause. Isn’t that what the great people of India brought down the Great Britain to its knees to forfeit then the colonial territory in the end?

It can be done and to think otherwise you’re vastly underestimating what the collective effort by a group of determined people can achieve. Don’t be daunted by a sheer size of KFA and the Indian lending institutions as the corporate size means little, if anything, in the justice of law. Rise up and press on!

All the best and good luck to you all.

Sincerely,

Echo Yankee, ATP/A&P

Civil Matter – American School of Aviation

A file photo of Flight Instructors of American School of Aviation, Atwater, CA
A file photo of Flight Instructors of American School of Aviation, Atwater, CA

Possible code and ordinance violations;

Federal Statutory Code;

Improper aircraft registration
Non compliance with aircraft registration requirement

Improper aircraft maintenance
Non compliance with aircraft maintenance requirement

Improper school operation
Non compliance with P141 school requirement

Improper report, paperwork
Non compliance with AFSP, DHS requirement

Non payment on tax due
Non compliance with IRS requirement

Non payment on employment taxes
Non compliance with IRS requirement

California State Statutory Code;

No aircraft insurance filing
Non compliance with PUC insurance requirement

No payment on employment taxes
Non compliance with EDD requirement

No delivery of services contracted and paid
Non compliance with Business & Professions code requirement

No tuition refund made
Non compliance with DEO requirement

No payment on fuel purchased
Non compliance with Business and Professions Code requirement

Merced County Ordinance;

Unpaid office/hangar, tie-down rent
Non compliance with county lease agreement

Unhealthy dormitory conditions
Non compliance with county health code requirement

Hazardous and reckless operation
Non compliance with airport operations requirement

And perhaps in more possible violations committed by ASA. Any competent lawyer should be able to find an appropriate code, ordinance citation and build a strong enough case against the duo Prince and Reny in a civil court for getting a civil penalty and judgement in their respective case.

Echo Yankee

Criminal Matter – American School of Aviation

What occurred or reported to have occurred at ASA

1. It (ASA) failed to deliver flight training to its students as per the agreement
2. It failed to refund the unused tuition to the students when requested.
3. It operated in violation of numerous Federal, State and local regulations.
4. They (Prince & Reny; owners) lacked moral, professional and business fitness to run a fight school.
5. They defrauded students.
6. They defrauded local merchants.
7. They defrauded local governments
8. They defrauded federal government
9. They endangered the health and welfare of the students and their parents home.

Applicable California State Penal Code

Criminal fraud committed against students
□§532 False pretenses; obtaining money, labor, or property; punishment;

Every person who knowingly and designedly, by any false or fraudulent representation or pretense, defrauds any other person of money, labor, or property, whether real or personal, is punishable in the same manner and to the same extent as for larceny of the money or property so obtained.

□§484b. Diversion of funds received to obtain or pay for services, labor, materials or equipment;

Any person who receives money for the purpose of obtaining services and wrongfully diverts the funds to a use other than that for which the funds were received, shall be guilty of a public offense and shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or by imprisonment in the state prison, or in the county jail not exceeding one year, or by both such fine and such imprisonment.

□§476a. Checks, drafts or orders on banks; insufficient funds; intent to defraud; punishment;

Any person who willfully, with intent to defraud, makes or draws or utters or delivers any check, draft or order upon any bank or depositary, or person, or firm, or corporation, for the payment of money, knowing at the time of such making, drawing, uttering, or delivering that the maker or drawer or the corporation has not sufficient funds in, or credit with said bank or depositary for the payment of such check upon such funds then outstanding, in full upon its presentation is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison.

Crime against creditor
□§154 Debtor fraudulently removing, conveying, or concealing property;

Every debtor who fraudulently removes his property or effects out of this state, or fraudulently sells, conveys, assigns or conceals his property with intent to defraud, hinder or delay his creditors of their rights, claims or demands, is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year, or by fine not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both; provided, however, that where the property so removed or sold or conveyed, or assigned or concealed, consists of a stock in trade or a part thereof, of a value exceeding one hundred dollars, the offense shall be a felony and punishable as such.

□§155 Defendant or judgment debtor fraudulently removing, concealing, or disposing of personal
property sought to be recovered;

Every person against whom an action is pending, or against whom a judgment has been rendered for the recovery of any personal property, who fraudulently conceals, sells, or disposes of such property, with intent to hinder, delay, or defraud the person bringing such action or recovering such judgment, or with such intent the time of the commencement of such action or the rendering of such judgment, is punishable as provide in the proceeding section.

Crime against landlord
□§537 Defrauding innkeepers, etc.;
Any person who obtains any accommodations at apartment house, without paying therefore, with intent to defraud the proprietor or manager thereof, is guilty of a public offense punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not more than one year, or in the state prison.

Most of the above offenses if not all are felony offences each carrying one or more years of imprisonment if convicted. In the ASA case, if the DA is successful in achieving even one criminal conviction, that will land over 100 years in jail time for those convicted. (each one count times a number of victims/students and you get the idea.)

Don’t let the front desk clerk to tell you it’s a civil matter and turn you away. A completed crime report must be accepted and a crime reference number (CRN ) must be issued upon filing. You’re not making any request there, rather you’re making a unilateral filing action. It’s important that the crime report (pleadings in lawyer’s term) is completely prepared in accordance with the county’s criminal procedures protocol. Ask your lawyer if you already have one, if not contact SABA and ask one of their pro bono lawyers to help you prepare a crime report and have it filed at Merced county sheriff’s dept.

Now those are just few of the state penal codes that I came up with for the moment and by doing a little research on my own (I can’t afford a $250/hr lawyer for reading the same law books).

On the Federal statutes violation side, here’re some of the applicable codes under the Title 18 of USC –Crimes and Criminal Procedures that could well apply to the ASA case on the Federal offense side for the feds to pursue.

□§31 Aircraft and Motor Vehicles
□§241 Civil Rights
□§371 Conspiracy
□§641 Embezzlement and Theft
□§1001 Fraud and False Statements
□§1231 Labor
□§1341 Mail Fraud
□§1343 Wire Fraud
□§1421 Nationality and Citizenship
□§1821 Professions and Occupations
□§1951 Racketeering
□§1961 RICO
□§2071 Records and Reports

What needed to achieve a conviction requires only two things like everything else in everyone’s life, desire and strong enough intention (will) to carry it out, the rest will follow.

Report online the duo Prince and Reny’s criminal fraud to FBI also.
FB I Crime Report Form
https://tips.fbi.gov/

Echo Yankee