Jump to content

"Just out to get your money" flight schools


Recommended Posts

To All,

 

I read about Sky and glad to know they are above board and pilots in training are happy with them. The mention of (not like some schools that are just out to get your money) made me think about asking for forum members to list the schools they learned are this way. We can warn pilots about them. Please be sincere and only reply from personal experience with schools currently in business.

 

I know Silver State was this way but they are defunct. What other schools have been found to be "just out to get your money"?

Edited by Mikemv
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well... not to name names... but we ALL know of 1 school who doesn't care about your ratings just how much money you have on account. I didn't train there, but I worked for him. And if your CFI only cares about building his/her own hours and doesn't care about you, you are screwed!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well... not to name names... but we ALL know of 1 school who doesn't care about your ratings just how much money you have on account. I didn't train there, but I worked for him. And if your CFI only cares about building his/her own hours and doesn't care about you, you are screwed!

 

Just my point of posting this to warn up and coming pilots in training! We all do not know and these schools should be named. If they are named they have an opportunity to address the issue. I have no idea what school you are talking about? Do they even exist?

 

It has been mentioned many times not to give a flight school a large amount of money up front. If a school does accept a large amount up front are they just out to get your money? Can they still possibly provide excellent instruction?

 

"Never give a flight school a large amount of money up front!!!!!!"

 

How your CFI approaches teaching is not about "a school is just out to get your money". CFI attitudes and approaches to teaching can change from day to day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What about offering block rates? The fixed wing school I worked at in 2000-2003 had a club membership that gave a discounted rate and they were a well known and excellent school. And my current school offers discounted rates for money up front. We discourage customers from sinking tens of thousands of dollars in up front though, but offer price reduction if they pay a couple thousand in advance. In my opinion it needs to be kept reasonable. But I think there should be a distinction made here. Just my opinion and curious what everyone thinks. Our customers who use this program seem happy with it and a lot of people ask if they can do it without us advertising about it. A couple times I have had to discourage people from putting large amounts down up front. You never know when you're situation might change and you need that money back. The school that I did my Commercial/CFI training at required a positive balance (basically, you paid your lesson in advance). But they were very good about getting money back to customers if they didn't use it.

 

I agree with Mike that a school that wants $15,000 up front should be avoided. Do not mistake this for a school that asks or allows you to keep a smaller balance on account in order to keep things running smooth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well... not to name names... but we ALL know of 1 school who doesn't care about your ratings just how much money you have on account. I didn't train there, but I worked for him. And if your CFI only cares about building his/her own hours and doesn't care about you, you are screwed!

 

Well, he already mentioned silver state, so, hmmm,...does your school's name end in "ix"?

 

If so, I think we'd all be interested in hearing about your time there, since there seems to be very little, actual, "first hand" experience with the company here, just opinions and heresay about his business model and marketing techniques!

 

If not, then we ALL have no idea who your talking about!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, he already mentioned silver state, so, hmmm,...does your school's name end in "ix"?

 

You nailed it. Just read the homepage... 300 hours and a commercial rating. At any other school, you would complete all your ratings in 300 hours.

 

I'm not interested in trashing anyone on a public forum, but I will share my experience with anyone over pm.

Edited by TXFirefly
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So there is only one pilot with a reference to one flight school "that all they want to do is take your money"?

 

I have heard this as a somewhat common expression. This is why I asked this question.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"A school that's only out to get your money" is a broad subject, and it's hard to judge a school based on it. A school that makes you pay up front? Yeah that's pretty easy.

 

What if they let you pay as you go? Well they're not but if they have no concern about helping you move on after you get your rating, if they don't hire you or help you go to another job are they NOW only after your money? Possibly, you can see it either way.

 

What if a school provides poor instructors who don't enjoy their work? If they know that it'll lead to a high drop-out rate but don't care to do anything about it does that mean they are only after your money now?

 

What if a school constantly adjusts their rental rate based on their needs and costs? Are these schools only after your money?

 

What if a school only trains in a Bell 204 and doens't own a Robinson or Schwizer? Are they only after your money if they have the knowledge that the flight time you have when you leave with a CFII will not help you get a job? Or is it the students responsibility to understand the industry and what this training will mean for their career?

 

It's not black and white and while we have some good obvious examples of schools that appear to be only after your money, there are a lot that fall into the in-between grey area because they may want to hire everyone but don't have the buisness or facilities to. Or they would love to charge students on a day by day basis, but can't because their lease and costs are due at the beginning of the month.

 

I'm never in a hurry to bad mouth a flight school simply because many of them seem to have a minimal profit margin. There's a reason flight schools don't have new birds every year and twenty locations. Many of these places (I believe) work out a nitch and coast by financially. It only takes a year without any students to put some of these schools under, or a few too many overspeeds with blades that have to be returned to the factory costing the school $15,000 for a school to suddenly be in the red.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The service that a flight school should provide is to teach pilot applicants at various certificate levels to reach their goal of attaining that certificate. This is accomplished by running a business for profit.

 

Beyond that, a flight school has no obligation to hire you or help you find a job. You paid the published rate, attained your certificates and met your goal. How diligently you trained, your demonstrated attitude and knowledge of the industry falls on the pilot in training.

 

Of course many schools do try to hire from their student base and develop inroads to the industry for career minded pilots. This is good business practice to perpetuate the business.

 

We have a turn over CFI system along the career path and many of these pilots do not want to be instructors and could care less. Other CFIs are sincere and act as professionals and will make inroads into the operational system.

 

When I hear someone say "a flight school is only there to take your money" I ask, did you pay the going rate and not get instruction? Did you not get your certificate at each goal level? Did you apply yourself and make each training session "your best session ever"? Did you approach flight school as you would going to another education provider?

 

At what hour and certificate level did you decide that the school was just there to take your money? Why did you continue training if you thought they were just there to take your money?

 

There are many flight schools and training providers. Do your research about the school and industry in general before beginning and never place a large sum of money into a supposed account to train.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree. There are owners I don't see eye to eye with about certain policies, and there are definitely some crummy CFI's out there, but I have seen pilots overcome that and get ratings and jobs. I have my misgivings about some schools in my area, but I would never say they are just out to take your money. Well.. Maybe one I used to work for, but I still have important ties there so I can't throw that stone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

SRT helicopters is a joke. Chris the owner now has a felony for forging Military deployment papers, stiffed my old flight school for R44 rentals where we had to wear his shirts and tell them it was his helicopter. Total fraud. He told the judge he was a civilian contractor for Special Forces to get out of speeding tickets!!!

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stay away from Airwork LLC in Las Vegas. The machines are garbage and the instructors are dangerous. 3 crashes in the last few years. The place is run more like a flying club than a school. The only standard for new instructors is that they be able to bring in new students. Larry, the owner, is about as trustworthy as rattlesnake. I never got a warm fuzzy from anyone I met there, trained with, or otherwise interacted with, and I hear stories about inspections being pencil whipped and IA signatures being forged for annuals (don't know if it's true but it wouldn't surprise me). I also heard he over-insures his aircraft so that he collects a payday if one gets destroyed. Who wants to fly in an aircraft that's owner has motive to see you ball it up?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Sounds like Tallahassee Helicopters needs to go on this list.

 

http://helicopterforum.verticalreference.com/topic/16304-paying-for-flight-school-through-college/

 

As far as the R-44 vs R-22 argument, the guys at TH were telling me the R-22 is getting old and many flight schools no longer use them and instead are upgrading to the 44, They said many people that train with them are having to get their PIC time in a 44 because 22 jobs are more limited. Is that not true?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm guessing the schools that are replacing the R22 with the R44 are the one's who can use the GI Bill to pay for it?

 

R22 jobs ARE scarce, but its due to supply and demand, not the "retirement" of the R22 fleet! If you think R22 jobs are scarce, try finding a job in an R44!

 

No, the schools (some not all) that can use the GI bill Sucker the VA with 206's. I hear many schools are or will be reveiwed by the VA very soon. Hopefully the greedy bastards don't ruin it for the rest of us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, the schools (some not all) that can use the GI bill Sucker the VA with 206's. I hear many schools are or will be reveiwed by the VA very soon. Hopefully the greedy bastards don't ruin it for the rest of us.

 

Where did you hear that from?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Someone that I trust and that has been working with the VA pretty much daily for the past month or so. More specifically, the VA is looking into the 2 year degree programs. They want the GI bill to be used for 4 year degrees. This could be good or bad, my concern is, the more they look into these programs the more they will find schools abusing them and they may just shut them down.

 

I have also been advised to start a program soon (before the program goes away) by multiple people during Heli-success. The people that advised me to do this are not school owners and are among the most knowedgeable as far as the state of the industry. This raised my concern that the VA may stop funding these programs soon. Hopefully I am only a few days away from being "grandfathered" in.

 

With all that, remember this is word of mouth, don't take my thoughts and opinions as fact. I do not have any documents to prove this. I do hope that these programs live on for a long time to come our Veterans have earned it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hear many schools are or will be reveiwed by the VA very soon. Hopefully the greedy bastards don't ruin it for the rest of us.

 

I wouldn’t worry too much. Even though my experience with the VA is minimal, I’m sure they’ll just be conducting a paper-check to ensure the schools are in compliance with VA policies/regulations. They more-than-likely won’t even talk with a student and even if they did, what’s the student going to say?

 

The way I see it, with the VA benefits, no one is really looking out for the beneficiary (student) or the VA. Truthfully, the VA doesn’t have the tacit knowledge to understand how this industry operates and nor does the student. This creates a “middleman” who can manipulate the true reality and milk the system. In the end, the only one who succeeds is the “middleman”. The student gets minimally certified with a bunch of unnecessary training then finds himself out in the cold while the VA, and by association the taxpayers, foots the 120K bill. If that sounds bogus, I’ll ask, who’s going to listen? Certainly, not the VA.

 

Mind you, not all flight schools that operate a VA program fall into this category. However (and again) who would know? Students don’t know any better and the VA doesn’t care so how does one know what is best for the beneficiary? IMHO, here are a couple things to look out for:

 

Baseline; in order for a new pilot to compete for entry-level pilot positions, they’ll need to have CFII certification/ratings and meet the R22/R44 SFAR with S300 time. This would total approximately 200 hours of total time. Plus, a firm understanding that this industry prefers to advance pilots into a turbine with fair amount of flight instructor time.

 

With that, these are a few red flags which may indicate the school is not operating in the best interest of its VA students.

  • Providing dialog contrary to the baseline.
  • Including turbine time as a part of the required curriculum.
  • Requiring students to fly the R44 beyond the SFAR minimum to teach (excluding IFR training).
  • The student body is comprised of only VA beneficiaries and no “civilian” students.
  • Any requirement to complete nonessential training such as long-line or NVG.

I suspect there are additional red-flags which others can add.

Edited by Spike
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When folks are considering which helicopter flight school to attend, they should understand there are many variables and “just out to get your money” is just one of those variables. Plus, these folks, or better said, these “customers”, often have different motivations. That is, potential customers look at schools for many reasons including; career purposes, or maybe looking to enhance a resume with so-called “specialty” training, or simply to go from a commercial to CFI and let’s not forget the “private owner” and, the OG who wants to fulfill a midlife crisis. Either way, it’s clear, former customers are hesitant to “criticize” a former school. Usually, solid pilot types prefer to move forward and chalk up their bad experience to a poor decision. Conversely, there are less-than-worthy customers who will badmouth the best of schools for various reasons, most often, just because they didn’t get hired. In short, you can’t please everyone…..

 

With that, it should be known “customers beware”. Just because your demo flight was awesome, doesn’t necessary mean the school is above board. If anything, what the SSH debacle taught us was, customers can be shafted at the beginning of their training, in the middle or heaven forbid, at the end. Or even worse, being shafted as a graduate turned into employee….

 

History time-and-time again has told us, do your research thoroughly. Lots of SSH victims were warned but failed to heed the advice. Many, and I mean many, said the [sSH] naysayers were just being negative, jealous or uniformed. The victims didn’t understand this situation was not new or unique to this industry. Simply put, they refused to listen to those who came before them. This begs the question; will this ever happen again? The answer is; unequivocally yes it will. Why? Because people will believe anything and once they’ve been sold, they will refuse to listen to anyone else. After that, they simply become victims of their own circumstance……

Edited by Spike
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...