Solo Flight School providing free pilot training to stranded Indian student

Aneesh Mullacheri traveled halfway around the world only to watch his dream of becoming an American commercial pilot became a nightmare. Solo Flight School in Lakeport is helping him get back in the air with free private pilot training. (Tiffany Revelle)
Aneesh Mullacheri traveled halfway around the world only to watch his dream of becoming an American commercial pilot became a nightmare. Solo Flight School in Lakeport is helping him get back in the air with free private pilot training. (Tiffany Revelle)

By Tiffany Revelle — Record-Bee.com

LAKE COUNTY, CA – To call Aneesh Mullacheri determined is an understatement. He traveled halfway around the world only to watch his dream of becoming an American commercial pilot became a nightmare. But he hasn’t given up.

A six-month time limit on his visa is ticking while he eats and sleeps less than 100 yards from the small aircraft he will fly in Santa Rosa this weekend for the last leg of his private pilot licensing exam. His flight school American School of Aviation in Atwater, CA folded in July, taking the $40,000 he’d paid upfront and leaving him stranded. Solo Flight School in Lakeport is helping him get back in the air with free private pilot training.

“I know something good is going to happen,” Mullacheri said, a sparkle in his brown eyes.

In the same breath, Mullacheri acknowledged that flying days are over if he has to go back to India when his visa expires in February. He landed in San Francisco on his 18th birthday, ready to start commercial pilot training at the American School of Aviation in Atwater.

Mullacheri had $400 to his name and nowhere to live when the school declared bankruptcy. He called home for help – but not to his family.

“I didn’t want to give my grandfather another heart attack,” Mullacheri said.

Solo Flight School Co-owner Nancy Brier and her family took Mullacheri under their collective wing in October when they learned of his plight. The family’s already thin budget can only bear the cost of his private pilot license training, which is the first step to a commercial pilot license, which in turn is a stepping-stone to becoming a test pilot and ultimately an astronaut.

“My goal would be to at least help him get his commercial license,” Brier said.

She said the money is coming out of her family’s personal account, on top of providing transportation, living quarters and personal support. The family felt compelled, she said, not just by his circumstances, but also by his spirit.

Mullacheri said he felt responsible for his grandfather’s first heart attack during his eight-month struggle to get his visa and scrape together enough money for the flight school. His grandfather had been his only supporter at home, and had loaned him the money he still needed after selling approximately two acres of farming land he had inherited from his mother for approximately $25,000.

On top of selling everything he owned, Mullacheri broke centuries-old social traditions in his homeland of India by daring to follow that dream. His grandparents raised him after his mother died and his father dropped out of his life when he was four years old.

His career choices were down to a literal coin toss between the engineering and medical professions, with his peers and his grandparents tossing the coin. Mullacheri wanted more.

“They never ask what is your interest, what do you want to be? That is what I saw here, they are really optimists (here). But in my place, no. Maybe one in a thousand will be an optimist. All the others say, ‘Never dream big things,'” Mullacheri said.

Flight instructor Vernon Childers has walked Mullacheri through almost a month and a half of private pilot lessons, and said he “could use 20 more just like him” who have his determination and work ethic. Childers said Mullacheri passed the oral part of his exam in 30 minutes, a process that can take hours.

To learn more about Mullacheri’s circumstances or to help, call the Solo Flight School at 263-9920.

Contact Tiffany Revelle at trevelle@record-bee.com, or call her directly at 263-5636 ext. 37.

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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.