By Youri Kemp
Caribbean News Now associate editor
NASSAU, Bahamas — An apparent link has been uncovered between the recent plane crash in Andros, Bahamas, that killed six people, and an alleged American fraudster, Robert Charles Brady and his now defunct flight training school in Florida, Beach Aviation Academy, and the registered owner of the crashed aircraft, Kingdom Airways LLC, a company incorporated in Delaware.
The twin-engined Piper Aztec plane that crashed on January 15 had a tail number N-62769 and, according to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, is owned by Kingdom Airways LLC, of 16192 Coastal Hwy, Lewes, Delaware 19958-3608. Flight tracking information indicates that the last international trip before the fatal crash placed the Piper on a route between Port Au-Prince, Haiti, and Nassau, Bahamas.
Two other Kingdom Airways-owned Piper aircraft: tail number N3050D and tail number N6925J, have both recorded their most recent flights in the West Palm Beach/Boca Raton area as late as August 2017 in and around the location of Beach Aviation’s former headquarters.
Brady has been identified as the co-owner of the planes, which it is appears were used to conduct flight training and flight charter services between The Bahamas and Florida.
Brady, seen on a YouTube video channel dedicated to the defunct Beach Aviation Academy company Brady owned and operated, training an aspiring Bahamian pilot, Donald ‘DJ’ Ferguson Jr., who was awarded his private licence in March 2016 under the tutelage of Brady and other Beach Aviation Academy instructors. The YouTube channel shows Brady and other Beach Aviation staff members training, taking private flights into The Bahamas and around the West Palm Beach/Boca Raton area.
Brady is no stranger to The Bahamas. In fact, his business has operated in and between The Bahamas and South Florida, particularly Boca Raton and West Palm Beach, as a flight charter and flight school since 2012.
According to the Florida State District Attorney’s Office, Brady was indicted on December 21, 2017, on 56 counts of fraud and the falsification of documents. If convicted, Brady faces a maximum sentence of 20 years on each of the 12 counts of wire fraud, 20 years on each of the 17 counts of filing false records in a federal investigation, and three years on each of the 27 counts of operating an aircraft without an airman’s certificate.
Also in this indictment, it was alleged that Brady flew to The Bahamas to conduct flight training sessions and charter services without approval from the US government or without proper licensing from the US government.
Back in March 2015 it was announced that Brady, through Beach Aviation, started a flight training partnership with the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) under the banner: Beach Aviation’s Bahamas Aviation Academy.
Following Brady’s indictment, a follow up with Brady’s Bahamas based partners, Dr Kenneth Romer and Frederick McPhee by the Bahamas Tribune, McPhee said that he was “relieved” that Brady had been caught.
He insisted that the partnership with Brady was a very short term relationship and nothing had materialised, and that he has no knowledge of any illegal activities being conducted by Brady.
The same article also states that Romer also severed ties with Brady in 2015, shortly after the announcement of the partnership with BTVI.
Romer, back in 2010, then working with Sky Bahamas, announced with Dr Iva Dahl, manager and consultant of BTVI, a Memorandum of Understanding for Sky Bahamas Airlines “Sky University” for the “Sky Bahamas Aviation Institute”.
A review of BTVI’s website shows no flight training programme offered by BTVI with either Beach Aviation’s Bahamas Aviation Flight School or Sky Bahamas Aviation Institute.
A review of the National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of The Bahamas (NAECOB) shows no currently active, or recently closed, institute of higher learning called “Bahamas Aviation Academy”, nor does it recognise “Beach Aviation Academy” as a face-to-face or distance learning programme for flight instruction.
NAECOB also does not recognize KA Flight Training Centre as an organisation that provides training in flying in The Bahamas, neither via any long distance programme from abroad; and neither does it identify Sky Bahamas Institute and/or Sky University as a recognised local or foreign training programme for flight instruction.
In addition, the NAECOB website shows that BTVI’s registration has been suspended.
Investigations into the crash are still ongoing.