Flight-School Owner Defends Record

The owner of the flight academy strongly defends his school's reputation in the wake of a third crash in a year.

While Len Mooney confirmed that there were in fact two accidents involving planes registered to the California Flight Academy last year, he stressed that neither of those mishaps resulted in any injuries to student pilots or passengers. He said student pilots at the academy have flown more than 65,000 flight hours without an injury accident.

The owner also said that the single-engine plane involved in Saturday's crash landing had just passed a thorough inspection and had been cleared by the academy's senior mechanic.

He stressed that the pilot of that plane was not a student, but in fact had his commercial pilot's license, was "instrument rated" and had recently returned from India to log more flying hours.

Three current students said the academy offers excellent instruction and has very high standards.

A four seat, single-engine aircraft went down in Oceanside over the weekend.

The single-engine Cessna Skyhawk was registered to California Flight Academy in El Cajon.  According to records on the National Transportation Safety Board’s website, this isn't the first time one of the flight school’s aircraft has been involved in an accident.

On April 1, 2008, a plane burst into flames after a hard landing at Gillespie field.  NTSB records show the plane was registered to the California Flight Academy.  The student pilot was on his second solo flight in a Cessna 152.  He was practicing "touch and gos" when the landing gear failed. The propeller hit the pavement, which sent sparks flying, starting the fire.

On June 26, 2008, another incident occurred involving a small Cessna aircraft. Again, NTSB records show, the plane was registered to the California Flight Academy.  The pilot was forced to make an emergency landing in Lakeside.  The aircraft took off from Gillespie Field in El Cajon.  The two people on board had to land near state Route 67 and Johnson Lake Road.  No one was hurt and the plane remained intact.

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