the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport.
Stewart went to his files, pulled the records of the man whose name he
knew, and handed the file over to the FBI agent. Stewart did not keep a
Laura Bosley, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles, said of the
confiscated records, "I'm not able to confirm or deny. " That is the
FBI's standard response to investigation inquiries from the media and
The flight school applicant applied through an agency in Miami and
never appeared in person in Burbank, Stewart said. Agencies that place
foreign flight students in American schools are primarily based in
Florida, he said. Some students already are licensed pilots in their home
countries, while others have had no prior training.
"This gentleman was already a pilot," Stewart said. The student who
had looked into applying to the local flight school approximately 18
months ago already had 400 hours of pilot training in his homeland, which
Stewart believed was Turkey.
"He never came for training. Nothing came of it, but we had built a
file on him," Stewart said.
Schools like Professional Pilot Training are the training grounds for
approximately 60% of the nearly 18,000 new pilots projected to be hired
in 2001, Stewart said.
Stewart stressed that the terrorists believed responsible for the
Sept. 11 hijackings of four commercial jetliners could have been trained
anywhere in the world, and that the hijackers did not use pilot licenses
to take control.
While commercial airlines have added security measures, Stewart said
his school has its own built-in security. His instructors have long-term
relationships with every student who comes to their hangar, he said.
With the Federal Aviation Administration's current flying restrictions
on small planes, the school's flight instructors are giving 95% fewer
lessons, Stewart said. The company, which has been operating successfully
for the past 15 years, has already lost $30,000 and had to lay off one
mechanic, he said. The other eight employees are all on furlough.