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.

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


Living in US? Call India as low as 4 cent per minute with Airtel

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.”