Parents Sue Flight School In Student's Death

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Where a flight instructor's responsibility for the safety of a flight ends and the student's begins appears to be the crux of a lawsuit filed against a Hawaiian flight school last week. The Honolulu Advertiser says parents of 17-year-old student Chezray Hayes are claiming that George's Aviation Services, its owner George Hanzawa and employee Jennifer Oka encouraged Hayes to go on his solo cross-country flight from Oahu to Maui despite deteriorating weather. Hayes died Jan. 25, 2003, when the Cessna 172 he was flying hit a ridge on the island of Molokai. The suit claims that more experienced pilots canceled their flights along the same route that day because of poor weather while the flight school let Hayes continue with his. Rescue aircraft reported IMC conditions with a ceiling of 500 feet and visibility of one to two miles in the area of the crash. But the flight school maintains that once Hayes was in the air, the onus was on him to fly safely. "Chezray was well-taught and well-instructed," school owner George Hanzawa told the Advertiser, but he made a "pilot error that was beyond my or my company's control."