Anis Pradhan, a skilled aircraft mechanic and flight school owner from Torrance, California, saw his lifelong dream crumble before his eyes. Pradhan had dedicated countless stolen hours to the meticulous rebuilding and conversion of a vintage post-World War II single-engine plane. His ultimate goal was to donate the aircraft, along with the necessary tools and parts, to a nonprofit organization in his native Nepal. This act of generosity aimed to train the next generation of pilots and mechanics in his homeland.
Growing up in Nepal, Pradhan had always been fascinated by aviation but had limited exposure to pilots and aircraft mechanics. When he moved to the United States as a teenager in the 1990s, he carried his dreams with him. Years later, after accumulating 20 years of experience as an aviation mechanic and establishing his flight academy in Torrance, Pradhan met Mahabir Pun, the visionary behind Nepal’s National Innovation Center.
Pun recognized the pressing need for qualified pilots in Nepal, a country experiencing a significant surge in air travel and tourism. He approached Pradhan, seeking his expertise to address this demand. Inspired by the opportunity to give back to his community, Pradhan embarked on the ambitious project of rebuilding a 1948 Piper PA-15 Vagabond. This vintage aircraft would serve as a teaching tool, inspiring and guiding aspiring Nepalese aviators.
However, earlier this month, Pradhan’s dreams were shattered when thieves brazenly stole the plane, four separate engines, dozens of tools, parts, and even the Airstream trailer that housed them. Surveillance footage captured the heart-wrenching moment when the thieves connected the trailer to a white pickup truck and drove away from a storage facility in an unincorporated area near Torrance.
Ten days later, the stolen goods were discovered in Long Beach, stripped and, in some instances, charred beyond recognition. Pradhan’s years of hard work and sacrifice had been reduced to ashes. Devastated, he expressed his disbelief, stating, “That was my life — 10 to 12 years of my life working on that plane with my bare hands. I can’t believe it’s gone.”
The loss not only destroyed Pradhan’s dream but also extinguished the opportunity to help his fellow Nepalese. The stolen plane represented a chance to bridge the gap in aviation training and provide a much-needed service to a country experiencing exponential growth in air travel. Pradhan’s pain runs deeper than the thousands of lost hours of work and sacrifice; it is the loss of a vision that may never be fully recovered.
As Pradhan seeks donations to rebuild his shattered dream, the Los Angeles Police Department is actively investigating the theft and destruction of property. While leads and suspects have not been confirmed, the community remains hopeful that justice will prevail.
The stolen plane, once a symbol of hope and inspiration, now serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by those who dare to dream. Anis Pradhan’s unwavering determination and resilience in the face of this devastating setback will undoubtedly inspire others to support his cause. Together, they hope to rebuild not only an aircraft but also the dreams of aspiring aviators in Nepal.