Students suing American Flight Academy - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Students suing American Flight Academy

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A second lawsuit was filed against American Flight Academy. (WFSB) A second lawsuit was filed against American Flight Academy. (WFSB)
EAST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A second lawsuit is on the books for the flight academy in Connecticut that lost two students in deadly plane crashes. 

This time the lawsuit involves three students who said they have not been able to train for the last two months and they are not getting reimbursed.

The three students filing the lawsuit are all international. According to the lawsuit they've paid tens of thousands of dollars to learn how to fly and are here on special visas. Those visas expire and some may be forced to return with no pilot’s license and no money.

There a is the four-page lawsuit filed in Hartford Superior Court, claiming the American Flight Academy, also known as the Connecticut Flight Academy. The lawsuit states "did not fulfill the terms of the commercial airline pilot program."

Last year, visitors to the academy's website saw how they catered to international students. There was even a section dedicated to offering instructions on applying for visas. The three filing the suit on Thursday are from Peru, Ecuador and Turkmenistan.

In May, at the start of a federal investigation after two crashes that resulted in deaths, the lawsuit claims students no longer had the opportunity to train in the air. When they signed up, all say they were promised 252 hours of training.

One paid $30,000 and said he got 45.8 hours. Another deposited $28,000 and claims he logged 11 hours. The last student said he gave the flight academy $39,000 and received 70 hours.

The students’ lawyer said none of the three students have been in the air since April and despite numerous requests for a refund, no one has responded.

“I called the Hartford Jet Center where they're located and asked if they knew what was going on. Are they coming back? Are they closing? They didn't really know if they were closing, but said they haven't seen anyone in the office in three weeks,” flight student Michele Ziegler said.

Ziegler is not part of this lawsuit but finds herself in a similar spot. She reached out to Eyewitness News after trying to reach out to the school for more than a month.

“I had a significant amount of money and I still do right now that I haven't gotten back and at this point, I'm worried I won't get it back,” Ziegler said.

She has been with American Flight Academy for two years, even earning her private pilot's license. She went to get her instrument rating and was in the process of getting it when the two tragedies happened. Even then, she forged on. But a few months ago, she started to get worried.

“I went to make a schedule and a lot of the instructors had been taken off the schedule and there was nobody on the schedule to fly,” Ziegler said. “My flight instructor left.”

Since then, Ziegler said it's been a one-way conversation. Texts, calls, emails all go unreturned and her log book, with still hours to fill, remains empty.

“I thought we had a good rapport and relationship, so it's a little shocking I haven't heard back but I know I'm not the only one in this boat,” Ziegler said.

Eyewitness News reached out to the flight academy's lawyers, giving them a chance to set the record straight about this lawsuit, the school's status and the opportunities for refunds. 

“The AFA will not litigate these cases in the media, but rather it will do so in court, where cases should be litigated,” the statement read.

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