Flight school sued over death of student

A 21-year-old's dream of becoming a pilot was cut short when during flight school his plane came crashing down, killing him, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Cobb County. The father of the young man filed that suit alleging the school was negligent by forgetting to refuel the plane.

“I don’t want another family to experience that kind of loss,” said Michael Hughes.

This was the reason Hughes said he filed the suit against the flight school, its parent company and the instructors for forgetting to refuel the Piper Tomahawk in which his son died.

“Devastating, I really don’t have any other words,” said Hughes.

Last October, Joseph Hughes was working to get his pilot license. He had about 13 hours under his belt and had already flown solo once for about an hour. October 8 flight would have been his second solo flight.

“He initially said he wasn't going to be flying because the plane was down for maintenance. Then he got a call that it was OK to fly so he went down to get a couple of hours of flying and that's what happened,” said Hughes.

According to the lawsuit, the fuel tanks on the plane Hughes was in were virtually empty. The last time the plane had been serviced, was three days earlier after someone had flown it for nearly five hours and never refueled it.

The lawsuit states Hughes was climbing out of a touch-and-go maneuver when the engine quit due to fuel exhaustion.

“Of all the things you can anticipate, could happen, mechanical failure, wind, to hear it's something as simple as gas,” said Hughes. “I don't want all the paper work that was filed today. I don't want his story to be lost in the pages, ultimately this is about my son, it’s not about anything else,” said Hughes.

He said his son had a love of flying as a child and decided to try to live his dream.

“If there's any consolation in that- that he did what he was passionate about rather than sitting back and not doing something for fear of how it will turn out. He was living it,” said Hughes.