Flight schools involved in crash have history of incidents - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Flight schools involved in crash have history of incidents

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PHOENIX -

Four people killed in the skies over New River after two planes collided last week. We are learning more about the Scottsdale flight schools involved in the mid-air collision.

Both flight schools have had deadly crashes before and the FAA has taken enforcement actions against them.

We sifted through about a dozen FAA incident reports involving both schools, from student pilots veering off the runway to fatal crashes.

While the FAA did find both schools violated regulations, a spokesperson says the action they took was on the low end of the FAA enforcement scale.

According to the NTSB accident database, in the last three years there have been 2 fatal TransPac crashes that killed a total of 4 people.

According to the NTSB report, a crash in 2010 killed a student who overshot the runway and a crash in 2011 killed a flight instructor and two students after the plane hit a rock outcropping at the summit of Bronco Peak.

The FAA has record of 20 accidents or incidents involving TransPac since it got its flight school certificate in 2007 -- including a student pilot who lost control of the plane during landing, and hit several airport signs and caused the landing gear to collapse -- and a student who hit three parked trucks while trying to taxi.

There has been one FAA enforcement action against the company for what's been described as "minor deficiencies" with their training program.

Since Westwind got its flight school certificate in 2000, the FAA has records of at least 10 accidents and incidents involving the company, ranging from a student pilot hitting the nose of the plane on the runway during take-off, to a private pilot damaging the wing while making an emergency landing after a loss of engine power.

Before last Friday, the company had one fatal crash in 2004 that killed a flight instructor and two students when it hit terrain near Wittmann, Arizona.

There has been one FAA enforcement action against the company for operating an aircraft that was not in airworthy condition.

The FAA issued Westwind and TransPac correction letters for their violations. Neither companies would comment.

To put the incidents in perspective, an industry expert says each school has likely flown tens of thousands of successful flights since the schools started.

Flight instructors for TransPac Aviation Academy, 37-year-old Paul Brownell and 26-year-old Basil Onuferko, were killed.

Update: Hot Air Expeditions announced Wednesday that its president Margie Long and project manager Carl Prince were aboard the training flight that crashed last Friday.

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