EAST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The lights were off and the doors locked at the American Flight Academy in East Haven on Wednesday afternoon. Just hours earlier a plane owned by the school went down near Tweed New Haven Airport, killing one student and critically injuring an instructor.
Tim Larson, the Executive Director at Tweed told News 8 the flight school moved onto the property in 2014.
“They have been very good tenants. Very good operational, never had any concerns at all about them,” said Larson.
The school’s owner, Arian Prevalla, was seriously hurt in another crash back in October of 2016. A twin engine Piper PA-34 went down on East Main Street in East Hartford as it approached for landing at nearby Brainard Airport. Prevalla told investigators the student he was flying with was arguing and acting erratically. Investigators rules the crash intentional, saying the student was trying to take his own life.
Prevalla received burns to 17 percent of his body in that crash. The student was killed.
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News 8 attempted to reach Prevalla at multiple locations after Wednesday’s crash but he did not make himself available for comment. At his home in Wethersfield, people were home but did not come to the door. The second school location in Hartford was also closed.
A man who said he is a student at the East Haven school learned of the latest crash right after it happened.
“Anything, once you get up in the air, once you get off the ground anything can happen. Any little issue can bring you down,” said George Arthur, the student.
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For the American Flight Academy it has been two crashes in less than 5 months. The investigation into the latest crash is now being handled by the NTSB.
Those involved in the aviation industry say each one weighs heavy on their community.
“I just think it’s very sad that unfortunately someone lost their life here and my heart goes out to these people,” said Larson.