Report: Two Hijackers Took Flying Lessons In San Diego

Flight School Says Pair Wanted To Learn To Fly Boeings

The president of a San Diego flight school says two of the men believed to have carried out last week's attacks on the East Coast had sought instructions on how to fly passenger jets.

Fereidoun Sorbi (pictured, left), 52, president of Sorbi's Flying Club at Montgomery Field, said that he first met the two men, Khalid Al-Midhar and Nawaq Alhamzi, in May of last year, 10News reported.

"The first day they came in here, they said they want to fly Boeings," Sorbi told the Los Angeles Times. "We said you have to start slower. You can't just jump right into Boeings."

Sorbi said that Al-Midhar and Alhamzi took introductory lessons in one of the school's small planes and he suggested that they learn how to speak English if they were serious about becoming pilots.

"We told them to go to college and learn to speak English," Sorbi told The Times. "They said they were."

The FBI was investigating whether the pair attended nearby Mesa College and other community colleges.

The chancellor of the San Diego Community College District, Augie Gallego, said that the FBI has asked to see records from the three colleges in the district.

Sorbi said that Al-Midhar and Alhamzi were accompanied by two other men, both of whom were called a name that sounded like "Hani."

Hani Hanjour is suspected of being one of the hijackers on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon, according to the FBI.

On Friday, FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents searched a Lemon Grove home where Alhamzi and Al-Midhar once lived.

Agents spent seven hours sorting through the home of prominent Muslim leader Abdussattar Shaikh, who rented a room to Alhamzi and Al-Midhar from September through December last year.

Shaikh -- a retired San Diego State University professor who also serves on the city's police review board -- said that agents seized a computer, handwriting samples and textbooks and notebooks that once belonged to the men.

Shaikh is not a suspect, and he cooperated in the search of his home, Bill Gore, special agent in charge of the FBI's San Diego field office, said.

Al-Midhar and Alhamzi also lived at the Parkwood apartment complex in Clairemont with Hanjour.

The men lived in Apartment 127, and residents said they often stood on their first-floor patio and whispered into cell phones.

They said that the men could also be seen using flight-simulator-type software on their computer. Microsoft, which makes simulator software, has pulled the product from the shelves.

The FBI confirmed that Alhamzi rented the apartment in San Diego, which is not too far west of Montgomery Field.

Two suspected terrorists sought instruction on flying passenger jets in San Diego, according to 10News. Authorities believe the pair participated in last week's attacks on the East Coast. The owner of a Montgomery Field flight school says the pair told him they wanted to learn to fly Boeings.

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