American School of Aviation — Story from the other side.


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One of the ex-student has reacted sharply on the one track media reports and comments from various individuals and stranded students of American School of Aviation. Vishwas Gaikwad’s comments cannot be ignored so we’ve decided to put his side of story in this post.

Vishwas Gaikwad wrote on 3rd July 2008

I cannot comment on the business practices of the school but being a student there for one year I can’t accept media persons questioning the quality of training we underwent there. The school has been really strict with the training, stage checks and check-rides. Many of us failed check-rides and stage checks and ended up flying more than double the time required to complete a particular course (like Private, Instrument) in order to gain required proficiency. There has been no case of any pilot over-logging the flight time. Don’t you think if that was the case we all could have finished the training in 10months? In your effort to bring down the management you people are making it worse for innocent students who trained there. Even I have lost a lot of money and appreciate the help we are getting from all sources but please do not make any ugly assumptions regarding our training.
I have a sincere request to Naik sisters, I understand whatever you went through is bad enough (and we all are also going through that right now). But please do not tell lies to the media regarding the training. You two never trained here. And those among the media who are doubtful about the training practices are welcome to talk to any of the students (even the dissatisfied students who left the training midway to join other schools will agree with me). I am more than eager to prove my ability as a pilot to any qualified examiner anywhere, anytime but I will not tolerate these wrong allegations against my flying experience. If any of the former ASA students is reading this I will appreciate your support in this matter.
I expect the editor of above article to correct the contents of the first paragraph and apologize to the students.

SecondCity’s Response

An apology in advance is hidden in the particular paragraph Vishwas has mentioned in his upper comments. It is for the reader to find out. Still there are large amount of complaints regarding the training time given to the students and these complaints are not baseless claims made by bunch of few students but large majority of students are claiming the same thing. As far as question of ability to fly a plane as an ASA passed out than it is for the DGCA to decide about it. They are keeping a close eye on all the events at ASA. I wish if some other students can come out to support the claims made by Vishwas.

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Indian & Foreign community came out to help ASA students.


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Comments are pouring in from all parts of the world to help Indian & other nationalities students stranded in American School of Aviation. Offers of help are coming from India West Newspaper, California Airways — A flight School in Hayward and many individuals who revealed many shocking things about the owner Manpreet ‘Prince’ Singh who believed to be an illegal in USA and applied for the Political Asylum in 1996 fearing porsecution in India. Bhakti & Bhavna Naik had some more things to be revealed so they came out with an interesting piece of information and wanted us to pulish it. So here it is……..

Mail from two Sisters Bhakti & Bhavana Naik

My name is Bhakti Naik. I and my sister Bhavana paid $17,00/- to the American School Of Aviation in March ,08. In just four days I asked for refund because I came to know that the school has only 6 – 8 planes, has no enough instructors and plus the students don’t get to fly much. I asked for my refund in just 4 days after I got enrolled and since then till date I did not received my refund due. I thought of going to the small claims court, but there the announcer told me that Manpreet Singh already has 4 – 5 cases pending in the court. I talked to one student name Shailender Kapoor and he told me that he got the judgment but did not get the money back. I thought over it and then decided not to go to small claim court as Iwill also sail inthe same boat as the other 4 – 5 students. I have emails from ASA promising me to refund my money back, but still they have not done that. I came to know in March 08 that Prince is a CROOK , since then I and my family started writting to all the authorities for help, which includes the FAA, Sheriffs Department, the Merced Police, The Congress Men’s office, Merced County, Atwater County, and the Assembly Member’s office and so on. Since March 08, we have been struggling hard to fix this crook. At the end March 08, I and my sister talked to the Merced Sun Star’s reporter and told him about all this. Even he started investigating. We have been trying hard and with the help of my familyand by the grace of God , now the whole world has come to know about ASA and Mr. Singh and his so called wife Reny Kozman. Since March , we used to visit the students of ASA and asked their help and tried to save them from this Crook but at that time no one supported us. But still we didn’t get afraid or never back up and kept fighting against Singh and now we are happy that its worth all our efforts !
Thanks to FAA and the county for their help.
We are also thankful to Scott Jason of Merced Sun Star for helping us and for publishing the news regarding Singh and his school which alerted the students of ASA. Out of 100 there are still some students who are the stooges of Singh and I am afraid that they are future Singh and Reny.
But because of gods blessing now the whole world has come to know about these crooks. We have heard that Manpreet Singh is staying illegally in this Country, he had come to US in 1995 on a student visa and ended up staying here. We are still working hard and will keep working hard till we see Singh and Reny behind the Bars.
If anyone has any more information please do let us know. It is time we come together.
Thank you.

A mail from American School of Aviation student.


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I am Bhavana Naik. On 26th June, 08 there was an open meeting at the Barracks of American school of aviation , and so me and my sister who had paid $17,000/- to ASA had gone to attained the meeting. Singh was talking to the students that FAA had called him and asking him “sir when and where are you opening your next school,so that we can issue the license”…..this is all fake. He is trying to fool the students. Because FAA does not talk to anyone on phone and they don’t keep calling anyone. Later he said to the students that “who told you that my planes are grounded,stop spreading out rumors.”………what does this Singh think that whatever the media says is all fake and if the planes are not grounded then why is school closed?……I asked Singh. “where is my $17,000/-, give me the accounts”?. on this he said “*#***#**”…….and later he asked his stooges (students) to push us and assault us and throw us out of the meeting. the students pushed us physically and used bad language with us. Later we called the Sherriff and lodged a complaint against Singh, his wife Reny and the students who assaulted us physically.
I just want the world to know that how this Singh is and plus about the students, because the world feels sad for the students but yet there are some idiots who don’t deserve a pity but they deserve a good punishment for being the stooges of Mr.Singh.
I need help whether how can we FIX , Mr.Singh. He is now trying to open another Aviation school in Sacramento, we are trying our level best to stop that. Please suggest me as how can he go behind bars. If anyone knows more about him please come forward so that we can save the world from such CROOKS.
Thankyou.

Please feel free to send your comments on this post & help the suffering students of American School of Aviation.

American School of Aviation became biggest aviation scam of our times


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This whole issue of American School of Aviation has become such an important issue for all of us in travel industry that we cannot just let it go. I was most concerned by the reports being published in American media which are very disturbing. According to some dropouts and current students of ASA which are right now hanging out in USA, this whole school is turning out to be one of the biggest scam in aviation history of USA and one of the biggest damage ever done to the Indian students by their own countrymen Manpreet ‘Prince’ Singh. With all due respect to all of you guys and gals who successfully completed your training from Amercan School of Aviation, I’m not sure whether you’ll be allow to fly in coming days as there are complaints which are suggesting that pilots were not given anough time in air.

Amarnadh Kachepalli, a 26-year-old student from Andhra Pradesh, a state in India, left the school in March after three months because he only spent one hour in the sky training.

“There’s no education at all,” he said. “There’s no flying.”

Kachepalli said he believes he should have recorded about 80 hours in that time. School officials assured him that he could earn his pilot’s license in six to eight months, he said.

Each student needs to spend about 200 hours in the sky and the same amount on the ground to qualify for license, Kachepalli said. Most of the early coursework is done in the classroom.

A commercial license typically requires a year’s worth of training, he said.

Kachepalli has been contacting various local, state and federal agencies as well as the Indian Consulate to see if they can force the school to return about $52,000, which includes his tuition, living expenses and the cost to transfer to a different school.

He holds a master’s in business administration and said he left his job working for a hospital to come to America for a year.

ASA is also being sued for $56,000 in unpaid fuel bills.

Gemini Flight Support, which sells gasoline at the former Air Force base, filed a complaint Thursday in Merced County Superior Court against American School of Aviation.

It alleges that a $24,400 check from the school bounced May 19 due to insufficient funds. ASA also has about $32,000 in outstanding invoices, according to the complaint.

“A check of this size being returned is more than what we can bear,” Gemini Flight Support vice president Jim Price said. “Given the price of fuel, we just absolutely can’t afford to carry that kind of a debt load.”

The flight school will also be investigated to see whether it was an accounting error or if the company knew the check would bounce, said Tom MacKenzie, spokesman for the Merced County Sheriff’s Department.

The court case is among the recent issues with the flight school, which primarily trains foreign students, often from India, to become commercial pilots. It’s been at Castle Commerce Center since 2005.

County officials grounded its flights earlier this month because the school no longer had a valid insurance policy, and Merced city leaders found that ASA was using its airport as makeshift training ground without a necessary business license.

Also, a few students have been demanding that their tuition be returned because they’re unsatisfied with the amount of time they spent in the sky. A couple of others have won small claims against the school.

Last month, a judge awarded student Shailendra Kapoor $7,500 for breach of contract and emotional stress, according to Merced court records. Tuition for a pilot’s license can run about $40,000.

ASA president Manpreet Singh, who typically goes by Prince Singh, only responded by e-mail. He was served with a copy of the lawsuit late in the day and didn’t respond for comment about the civil case.

Earlier in the day, he wrote that about 5 percent of the students are unhappy or drop out because their learning style doesn’t match up with the American School of Aviation’s standards.

“And this is quite normal and expected,” he wrote.

The business is in the middle of a restructuring so it can train more students. It’s preparing to move to a larger building at the former U.S. Air Force base. By August, Singh hopes to train about 300 students at a time.

County spokesman Mark Hendrickson said Castle managers grounded the school’s flights May 15 when they learned the business’ insurance policy had lapsed.

The county could have been held liable had any of the flights crashed. The ban was lifted Thursday when the school showed Castle officials that it had a new insurance policy, Hendrickson said.

Prince  Singh denied that the county ever grounded the school’s flights. The school’s planes were spotted at Merced Municipal Airport last week in the midst of the county’s flying ban. The city airfield was being used as a makeshift school until Thursday, city spokesman Mike Conway said. Airport officials were unsuccessful in contacting the school’s managers.

ASA was operating without a business license, Conway said, which amounts to a misdemeanor. The city’s evaluating whether to call for an investigation. Stan Thurston, Gemini’s president, said he heard from a school manager that it was going to suspend its operation until next week. He won’t be selling the school any gasoline until the court case ends, either by a judge’s decision or when the school pays its outstanding bills.

California ‘Prince’ dupes aspiring pilots. Students evicted from their accommodation.


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This is a follow up of my last post, More than 100 Indian Students Stranded in USA due to Aviation School shutdown.The students, who shelled out about $40,000 each in the hope of finding jobs as pilots in India’s booming civil aviation industry, were evicted from their accommodation yesterday after officials in Merced County — where the school is located — pleaded their inability to continue water and electricity supplies to the building unless the school settled outstanding utility bills. Students, predominantly here on visas from India, learned of the pending action from notices posted on their doors at Castle Commerce Center by Merced County officials Wednesday morning. They immediately reacted with anger and disillusionment. Later in the day, a group of about 40 students formed in the apartment’s hallway, shouting and talking over each other. Officials of the Indian consulate general in San Francisco, who rushed to Merced County in response to pleas from the students, negotiated with local officials who agreed on Thursday to allow the students to stay in their accommodations for 30 more days if they shelled out $7,000 in part payment of outstanding utility bills. The students said they initially agreed to the offer, but later went back on it after a consensus that they saw little point in throwing good money after bad and that it was better to cut their already substantial losses. About 30 of the students have taken up an offer from “Prince” Singh, who runs the school’s day-to-day affairs, to have them enrolled in another flying school in California. They left with Singh for Sacramento yesterday, but the remaining 70-plus Indian students turned down the offer ostensibly because they have no faith in him after their bitter experience with his American School of Aviation. In addition to the Indians, Japanese, Sri Lankans and even American students are in the same boat. “Prince” Singh, whose real name is Manpreet Singh, has been described in the local media as the husband of Reny Kozman, vice-president of the American School of Aviation. Reny Kozman, the vice president of the school, answered my phone call, but declined to respond to questions about the bill and then hung up. ASA also is being sued for $52,000 in unpaid fuel bills and has numerous former students trying to get tuition refunds. Kozman and her husband, Manpreet Singh, have said that they are trying to sell the business to save it from going bankrupt. Efforts to verify Singh’s current nationality or immigration status in the US were unsuccessful. The school’s website displays logos of Air India, Indian, Jet Airways, IndiGo, Spicejet and Kingfisher Airlines, among others, giving the impression that these airlines in India have an association with the American School of Aviation but at the bottom it is cleverly mentioned that “by displaying these registered trademarks and service marks, does not imply any affiliation with these airlines nor implies that graduation from American School of Aviation guarantees employment by these airlines. Past results are not indicative of future performance.”

Each student has a story to tell about coming to American School of Aviation to fulfill their dreams. Each one appears to be ending the same way. The majority of them came to the school from India and paid about $41,000 in tuition to get a commercial pilot certification. Some relied on rich parents, others saved and the rest took out bank loans.

Air India pilots fell asleep during Dubai – Jaipur – Bombay Flight.

One of the horrors of air-travelers came alive when an Air India Jaipur-Bombay flight flew well past its destination with both its pilots fatigued and fast asleep in the cockpit. When the pilots were finally woken up by anxious Bombay air traffic controllers, the plane was about half way to Goa. This dream come true sleep in the sky occurred on the domestic leg of a Dubai-Jaipur-Mumbai flight with about 100 passengers on board.

“The plane took off from Dubai at 1.35am local time and then from Jaipur at 7am. “After operating an overnight flight, fatigue levels peak, and so the pilots dozed off after taking off from Jaipur,” one of the horrified passenger told media men at the Bombay airport after safe landing.

The aircraft was supposed to take a designated route to Bombay — and since it was on autopilot, it headed in that direction.

“It was only after the aircraft reached Bombay airspace that air traffic controllers realized it was not responding to any instructions and was carrying on its own course,” said the passengers.

SecondCity was told by an air traffic controller, “The aircraft should have begun its descent about 100 miles from Bombay, but here it was still at cruising altitude. We checked for hijack and when there was no response we made a SELCAL (selective calling).”

Every aircraft has its own exclusive code. When the ATC uses this high frequency communication system — which it does very rarely and only when other communication draws a blank — a buzzer sounds in the cockpit.

Jolted by the sound of the SELCAL buzzer, the pilots woke up and brought the plane back to Bombay safely.

On the other hand General manager of Bombay aerodrome, M G Junghare, denied that the pilots were asleep behind the control column.

“The aircraft had a radio communications failure and so could not be contacted. It had gone only 10 or 15 miles off Bombay and after we ascertained that it was not hijacked we made the SELCAL,” he said.

More than 100 Indian Students Stranded in USA due to Aviation School shutdown


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A file photo of Flight Instructors of American School of Aviation, Atwater, CABreaking news is coming from California this hour where more than 100 Indian students training to be pilots have been left stranded after their Aviation Academy (American School of Aviation) abruptly shut-down. One of the student emailed me last night with all the details. The students have been served with an eviction notice and asked to vacate the Academy premises by Friday (June 27).

The students were part of a Commercial Pilot Training Programme, jointly run by Kingfisher Airlines and American School of Aviation or ASA. Students claimed they paid 46,000 dollars for the programme.

Following which the students were handed a letter of intent by Kingfisher Airlines in India offering them jobs as co-pilots on completing training with ASA and getting their CPL (Commercial Pilot License) License and subsequent conversion from the DGCA India (Directorate General of Civil Aviation).

However, the school suddenly suspended its flight training last month, claiming their school was being restructured. Students were later told the school had been shut down for defaulting in payments over fuel and insurance bills.

Email further said, “We are students of the American school of Aviation. Our school has been closed for the past six weeks. The management has tried to keep us satisfied by telling us there is a deal going through in order to get the school brought over. But now it turns out none of it is true. They have been just keeping us on hold and today issued a notice telling us to evacuate the academy in the next two days due to the non payment of water and electricity bills.”

A disheartened Dmello (Indian Student) added, “There have been a lot of false promises and we are helpless and have no where to go. We are looking forward to external support from the Indian Embassy and the Indian government. We spoke to Kingfisher and they said that they are looking into the case and are trying their level best to resolve issues.”