NZ Flight Instructor Guilty Of Airborne Assault

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The former director of a flight school in New Zealand, Ravindra Pal Singh, 65, has been found guilty by a local District Court judge of separately assaulting two student pilots while providing instruction to them in the air. One student testified that Singh had slapped him in the face and pushed his head into the side of the cockpit. Another student said Singh elbowed her on several flights and raised his hand above her head in a manner that was threatening. Singh argued that the accusations were levied by poorly performing students who were in the county on visas that he was not inclined help extend. The judge disagreed with Singh's account in spite of the fact that an arrest warrant has been issued for a third accuser.

The third complainant brought common assault charges and is now wanted on charges of producing forged civil aviation documents. A fourth complainant also brought common assault charges. Both of those charges were dropped by the court. Singh still faces other charges in the case and sentencing will take place after all charges have been heard by the court. Singh had operated Palmerston North flying school in New Zealand until last summer, when he shut down operations. The school catered to Indians, and Singh said it operated well until he became more stringent on visa extensions and student complaints prompted him to close down.