Kemper Aviation Co-Owner Among Victims In Thursday Crash
The future of one of the
busiest flight schools in the US is in doubt after its third fatal
crash in less than five months. This time, the victims
included the man who was the co-owner and chief instructor of the
school, Kemper Aviation, based at Florida's Lantana Airport.
School officials told the Palm Beach Post that Jeff Rozelle was
flying a Cessna 172 over Lake Okeechobee Thursday morning with
three passengers from Florida Atlantic University, to survey
migratory birds for a research project. The wreckage of the plane
was found on ranch land in Martin County. There were no
The NTSB had two investigators on their way to the accident
scene Thursday afternoon. Sadly, they've become frequent
Last October 27, a Kemper plane flown by a veteran flight
instructor and a trainee crashed into a golf course west of Boynton
Beach. Both pilots died. Another student onboard was critically
injured, but recovered, and sued Kemper Aviation, the school's
maintenance company and the company that leased the plane to the
school, alleging negligence.
A federal investigator found the Piper had an extra washer
installed between the fuel filter bowl and its tightening screw,
and reported the fuel selector was set to the right wing tank,
which contained only about a half-cup of fuel.
Six weeks later, on December 8, a Kemper student was flying a
Cessna that collided with a Piper Comanche in a high-traffic
training area over the Everglades west of Boca Raton, as ANN reported. Both men
died. That crash also remains under investigation.
After the second crash, six then-current and former instructors
at students charged the school with shoddy maintenance, and alleged
it was a hazardous place to work. But Rozelle, described by a
former employee as even-tempered and soft-spoken, insisted the
planes were safe, and dismissed the concerns expressed by
instructors as the normal questions which follow a tragedy.
The FAA says it is investigating the school's maintenance
records. Kemper has been cited just three times over its 18-year
history for maintenance problems. The last, in 2000, carried a
Rozelle is survived by his wife, Jennifer, who manages the
office at the school, and their two children. The family of his
partner, Akshay Mohan, who works from India, declined to predict
whether the Part 141 school itself could continue.