High fees and strict checks or no, the influx of Indian students continues unabated. Pan Am International Flight Academy, based out of Miami International Airport, is currently training about 200 students from India.
Kemper Aviation flight school, based in Lantana, markets directly in India and has a section on its web site geared to appeal to Indian students. It is one of the most popular flight schools in South Florida to Indians, despite recent fatalities. Last December, Cleon Alvares, 25, of Mumbai while flying solo in a small Cessna trainer collided with a twin-engine Piper flown by Harry Duckworth, 56, of Waverly, PA. Both were killed.
In October last year Arjun Chhikara, 18, and his flight instructor from Kemper Aviation, Anders Selberg, 46, were killed when their single-engine Piper Archer developed engine problems and crashed on a golf course near Boynton Beach. A third occupant of the plane, also a student pilot from India, survived the crash.
Daedalus Aviation, based in Denver, Colorado, now has four Indian students on its rolls, and began accepting students from India after the New Delhi-based Aeroknights approached them.
Daedalus is a FAA Part 141 flight school approved by the US government for international students, its director Jack Buschmann pointed out.
"We support international students by issuing the form I-20 (needed to get the M-1 visa from the US consulate in India) and fingerprinting and TSA processing upon arrival," he said. A student has to complete the online 'International Student Application for Admissions' located in the international section of Daedalus' web site, and send it in along with a bank letter of financial responsibility to the tune of $50,000, and various other statutory requirements.
Daedalus, and other area aviation schools, estimate that the demand from Indian students for their courses will likely go up, despite fuel price hikes and the occasional fatalities.
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