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I feel that I also have an obligation to confirm this story.

 

I will start by saying that I have always like Doug as a person, however as a business man I have a different opinion.

 

I started at High Sierra in Feb. full time from beginner with intentions to go through CFII. Doug has been horrible at over promising, not returning phone calls, not paying his bills on time for maintenance (Georgetown airport), fuel (his credit card was declined numerous times at the gas pumps at PVF), bouncing checks to instuctors, behind on his lease payments on his helicopter (preventing us from flying), and not even knowing how much money has been paid to him, by me, for my flight training! Doug owes me 10 hours and I hope I get to fly them off if he does get going again. I now have 90.3 hours since Feb. flying (full time) and am still a little ways from taking my check ride. I have passed my written. I took the year off from working in order to do this and would have liked to be further along.

 

I will second everything said here.

 

The heli in question was N557DC.

 

Again, I like Doug as a person. Not his business practices.

Jim T

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I was told 2 weeks ago that the helicopter was in for maintenance, Obviously it is no longer there. I am owed approx 8 hrs. I feel very fortunate that thats all Im owed. Bottom line is its time to change schools. I agree with Jim and the others at the very least he could drop us a line or let us know whats going on.

 

Mark J

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Volition,

 

I'm not trying to be difficult but I have to ask you to explain. I don't know of a lot of places that you can get a service without paying in advance short of getting a haircut.

I'm not trying to argue but really it isn't practical not to pay up front at least a little bit.

 

 

-Seth

 

Do you pay in advance at the dentist’s office? Did you pay for your oil change in advance? Do you pay in advance for lawn care? When you pay up front for flight time you are making an unsecured loan to a risky venture.

Every time I hear of a flight school that is requiring students to “Pay in Advance” the next thing I hear is they are out of business. This just happed at a local fixed wing school near me.

I managed to make it through my helicopter and fixed wing training, and always paid after the lesson. I have to agree with Volition, but this is only my opinion.

 

RDW

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When I trained in the UK I paid for lessons at the end of that lesson, there was never any pressure to pay lump sums and as I have said before I would have changed schools if they had demanded big money up front.

There were times when they would bill for 2\3 lessons, and times when I would pay for the next lesson up front, but by that time both the school and I felt there was mutual trust.

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I'm not talking about smarts here. betr_thn_Icarus, that's odd because, i've been to about 20 schools here out east, and not one of them wanted money up front! THe saying here is, if they want money up front, there scam artists. :huh:

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Guest pokey

now THIS is REALLY interesting ! :o I told you once B4 500E that the rotor on your 500 there on your posts is turning the wrong way, remember? Well listen to this ( and no, i'm NOT MrEd) :lol: If i stare momentarily at a blade on the right front of your ship?, and then bring my eyes around to the left of the ship & follow around in that direction of rotation? VOILLA ! they spin in the right direction now ! B) wayyyyyyyyy cool :rolleyes:

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There's paying in advance as in SSH

 

and there's buying blocks of time, some schools will discount for blocks of time, ie. $265/hr for the lesson OR $250/hr if bought in blocks of 10 hours. this may be the case in some of the posts above. :blink:

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There's paying in advance as in SSH

 

and there's buying blocks of time, some schools will discount for blocks of time, ie. $265/hr for the lesson OR $250/hr if bought in blocks of 10 hours. this may be the case in some of the posts above. :blink:

 

 

I agree. At the school where I do most of my flying it is in you best advantage to buy block time. They are running a holiday special where if you buy 10 hours you get 2 hours free.

 

Is it risky? Sure... They could fold up and close their doors any minute but I do not think that is going to happen. When I buy blocks, I buy them one at a time so I don't have too much money tied up at the school.

 

Not sure if you can call this pre-paying or not. I never pre-payed for any rating I just purchased time in blocks of 10 till I got my ratings...

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I haven't read every single post in this thread.

 

Doug is a friend of mine - I met him via this forum a couple-three years ago - and I have watched his trials and tribulations from "afar" (I live in San Jose), with regular updates by phone and email. These are my comments:

 

1. Doug is on his way back from the GOM (via land yacht), having secured a PIC job there flying single engine helicopters over vast expanses of water. He has not had internet access since he's been gone (since last week), which is why he has not responded to this thread.

2. His entire motivation for going through the hassle of taking a job clear across the country is to try to keep HSH afloat.

3. He has had a rash of bad luck, unprofessional CFIs (but note that Bob is not one of them), vandalism, and other minor tragedies that boggle the mind.

4. He does not want any of his students to lose a dime, and he wants them to be able to finish what was promised in terms of ratings. Unfortunately I think the only way that's going to happen is via continued (admittedly extraordinary) patience for two or three months until he can get a cash flow going.

5. His ex-business partner in Tahoe is a lying, probably bipolar individual. I would not fly with him, and wouldn't trust a thing he says. Circumstantial evidence points to even more heinous behavior but it can't be proven.

6. As I'm sure even the students that have not been able to fly would say, Doug has a genuine passion about aviation and wants to make a contribution via an outstanding flight school. These first couple years have been rocky to say the least, but given any chance at all I think he can ultimately do that.

 

This post is intended as a small update and a character reference. I am sure that all of the HSH students will be hearing from Doug as soon as he returns.

 

Note that this is probably my only post to this thread. I just want to try to help a friend out.

 

Dave Blevins

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Pokey

Real sad!! you want to fly more :lol:

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now THIS is REALLY interesting ! :o I told you once B4 500E that the rotor on your 500 there on your posts is turning the wrong way, remember? Well listen to this ( and no, i'm NOT MrEd) :lol: If i stare momentarily at a blade on the right front of your ship?, and then bring my eyes around to the left of the ship & follow around in that direction of rotation? VOILLA ! they spin in the right direction now ! B) wayyyyyyyyy cool :rolleyes:

 

 

YOu can also do this with Radar at airfields...When I was at Al Asad Airbase in Iraq, the Radar was across the runway from the fire house, and the "Hot spot" (where a single crach truck sits waiting for crashes). I was sitting at hotspot one day watching the radar spin round and round, then it just changed direction, then back..over and over..I got the other guys in the rig to look at it and sure enough it was doing the same thing for them...but it was turning in different directions at the same time! Ohhhhhhh..it is an optical "delusion"... :blink:

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Army aviator, your ship does that as well! It can either look like its spinning downward or rubbing its nose back and forth on the floor!!! just stare at the nose for a few seconds!

Edited by coanda

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I haven't read every single post in this thread.

 

Doug is a friend of mine - I met him via this forum a couple-three years ago - and I have watched his trials and tribulations from "afar" (I live in San Jose), with regular updates by phone and email. These are my comments:

 

1. Doug is on his way back from the GOM (via land yacht), having secured a PIC job there flying single engine helicopters over vast expanses of water. He has not had internet access since he's been gone (since last week), which is why he has not responded to this thread.

2. His entire motivation for going through the hassle of taking a job clear across the country is to try to keep HSH afloat.

3. He has had a rash of bad luck, unprofessional CFIs (but note that Bob is not one of them), vandalism, and other minor tragedies that boggle the mind.

4. He does not want any of his students to lose a dime, and he wants them to be able to finish what was promised in terms of ratings. Unfortunately I think the only way that's going to happen is via continued (admittedly extraordinary) patience for two or three months until he can get a cash flow going.

5. His ex-business partner in Tahoe is a lying, probably bipolar individual. I would not fly with him, and wouldn't trust a thing he says. Circumstantial evidence points to even more heinous behavior but it can't be proven.

6. As I'm sure even the students that have not been able to fly would say, Doug has a genuine passion about aviation and wants to make a contribution via an outstanding flight school. These first couple years have been rocky to say the least, but given any chance at all I think he can ultimately do that.

 

This post is intended as a small update and a character reference. I am sure that all of the HSH students will be hearing from Doug as soon as he returns.

 

Note that this is probably my only post to this thread. I just want to try to help a friend out.

 

Dave Blevins

 

 

Dave,

 

as a business owner I have always refused to write anything on this forum, or any other forums, to maintain a sort of "ethically correct approach", but your statement, is quite disturbing. If you took the time to read the other posts before make any assumption, then you would have realized that " a shut mouth eats no flies". I frankly don't see anything worth bragging in being Doug's friend, having been kept up to date with his phone calls mostly made from expensive restaurants afforded by students' down payments and by my check book. Or from his 2 cents of pearls of mediterranean wisdom, AKA patronizing attitude. Obviously you are still good friend because you haven't lost any money. To give you a tiny piece of the story, how would you feel if you just gave Doug a 30,000 usd check from your own bank account, see the deposit slip on the company account, see a withdrawal of 19,000 usd the next day and discover at the same time that your signature has been removed from the company account upon his request? This is just the tip of the iceberg, but should tell you in a clear language, that your one side assumption serves the only purpose of flapping your gums, in a vain attempt of providing flies with a cheap accomodation. As soon as Doug decided to suspend the wrecking process that almost sunk this company, I had terrible times in trying to resume the business connections. The standard answer was: Is Doug still with the company? When I'd say no, he is not, then the next reply would be: " Good. Now we can talk business." Bipolar? News flash: Bob was the only instructor that was checked out. By me. The other CFI's were hired on the spot, with a brief interview over the phone. The phone-interviews were carried out from Doug's office, where in the background, along with the usual chatter of a Starbuck coffee shop, you could hear ".. hey Doug, do you want whipped cream with your coffee? ... Vandalism? News flash again. The leasing contract obliges the operator to keep the helicopter in the hangar or in a protected space everytime the aircrft is not flown. Hangar? In 16 months of HSH life, there has been no hangar, no office, classroom or phone line.

And when I was dragged in court because of his hinous accusations, the Judge saw through them very clearly and swiftly, even if Doug managed to hire a ambulance chaser of a lawyer with the promise of a Mc Donald kid's meal. (that he probably never redeemed). And last but not least, you don't know me, while I can provide an excellent record of training with 98.85 % pass rate, under Part 141, never over 37 hrs of flight training, so, it is me, who will not fly with you.

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Sounds like Dave just got OWNED by the "bi-polar" guy...ouch... :blink:

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First, let me say that High Sierra Helicopters is still in business and is not going out of business. Granted, we have had some unexpected bumps in the road, including the deliberate sabotage of not one, but two different helicopters. The first incident took the aircraft out of commission for six weeks; the second resulted in almost a week’s loss of flying. Needless to say, being a single ship operation, not flying for more than six weeks, along with additional expenses created by the sabotage, put the business into a financially difficult position. It would have been easy after the first incident to simply put my hands in the air and give up, walk away, and file for bankruptcy, leaving the students to deal with the aftermath. For those of you that haven’t noticed, that did not happen and I pushed forward dealing with the situation as best as possible given what I was left with. The first incident occurred during New Years weekend 2006 and the second incident occurred in July, eight days after the Schweizer arrived at High Sierra Helicopters. Just so you know, neither incident was covered by the insurance companies.

 

Secondly, I would like to address the posting that was started on VR by one of the students. The student was given erroneous information from what should have been a reliable third party that led him to believe that I had left town and moved to Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the third party only found an address for someone with the same name as me and didn’t verify that there was another individual with the same exact name, first, middle and last. I can understand the student’s concern as anyone in his position would be concerned if I had indeed skipped town, as suggested by some, and moved to Las Vegas. Why mail sent to my home address was returned to him as undeliverable is not known to me, but I’ll be checking with the Post Office as to why this occurred.

 

The third subject that I would like to address is the eagerness of some individuals to jump onto the “Let’s run Doug into the ground” bandwagon. These individuals do not know me, other than as a member of this board, do not have all the facts or seem to care to wait to have them before attempting to be judge, jury, and executioner. Some have even taken it upon themselves to send rather nasty emails to me after the thread was closed by a board moderator. I find it a rather distressing statement on humankind that others feel that they have some inalienable right to do their damnedest to try to tear down someone that they do not even know, or have ever been slighted by. Some people seemed upset by the fact that I didn’t immediately post a reply to the thread when it first started. I guess they have never been on a road trip with extremely limited internet access. Any replies to the posting in my absence by others attempting to convey my current situation was initiated by those individuals and were not done at my request, as suggested by Bristol in another thread he felt compelled to start after this one was closed.

 

Speaking of Bristol, he is correct in stating that my discussion regarding the business is between myself and the students, and that conversation regarding the business is not meant for public consumption by posting it here on VR. However, I am happy to say that I have been able to discuss the current situation with most all of the students and while a few have chosen to continue their training elsewhere, there is no mass exodus of students from High Sierra Helicopters. Even those that are going elsewhere, all have left open the possibility of returning to train with High Sierra Helicopters in the future. Also, those that are leaving will get a full refund of the money that they are owed.

 

The next thing that I wish to do is to address a couple of the specific statements made in this thread and they concern my former business partner who has decided to post what amounts to nothing more than lies and half-truths. This is even though he has been warned in a court of law against making such statements regarding myself and High Sierra Helicopters. His comment to the student that he is owed $55,000.00 by me couldn’t be further from the truth. Also, his insinuation that I pilfered $19,000.00 from the company is simply his inability to remember which bills the $19,000.00 was used to pay. Was he removed from the business account, yes he was, but only on advice from legal counsel after he threatened to remove all funds from the business account and return home to Seattle. Something that many may not know is that if you loan money to a business, even if you are a part owner of the business, the money then belongs to the business and is no longer yours to do with as you please, including removing it from the business account just because you choose to.

 

The last thing that I will address is the current status of the business. I am still interviewing for a new flight instructor. We have been without one since Bob took a job in the GOM two months ago. When we operated the R22, I received upwards of 8-10 resumes a week of flight instructors seeking employment. I have received next to nil resumes since switching to the Schweizer and the vast majority of those are from instructors with zero hours in the Schweizer. Unfortunately, the insurance company has a minimum 25 hours make and model requirement before a CFI can be hired. This has made finding an instructor to hire a rather large challenge. As far as a helicopter goes, the leasing company did retrieve the ship from High Sierra Helicopters. This was done out of the owners concern with the troubles in finding a new flight instructor and the minimum monthly amount due on the lease whether the hours are flown or not. I met with the owner of the leasing company yesterday and he reaffirmed his commitment to supply High Sierra Helicopters with another helicopter once I have hired a new flight instructor and have things moving forward again. The new facility that was originally supposed to have been constructed some three years ago is finally under construction and we should be moved into it in the next couple of months. We will have a classroom, space for the simulator, hangar space for helicopters, and shared briefing rooms with the fixed-wing operator that is constructing the new facility. As for my taking a job in the GOM, I have and this was done to ensure that there is money coming in to be able to keep the business going and to further ensure that no student of High Sierra Helicopters will lose any money prepaid for training not received. Will being away in the GOM three weeks at a time be a difficult thing to do with the business and family being located in California? Yes it will, but I will do what it takes to make certain that the business continues. One last thing regarding the business, I have been moving away from the prepaid block time and to a pay-as-you-go method of payment. It became apparent many months ago that the pay-as-you-go method would be best for both the students and the business. All current students will be converted and all new students will use this method.

 

I realize that this has been a rather lengthy reply, and more detailed that I had originally planned on it being, but I felt that this needed to be said. My request is that this will be the last thing that anyone feels that they need to post on this subject and that if someone feels the need to say something further that you don’t sit behind your keyboard, but instead you pick up the phone as I would be more than happy to discuss this subject with you in a civilized manner.

 

Doug

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I don't know about anyone else, but Doug has not called me once since he left for the Gulf. I still have the same phone numbers, e-mail and home address that he used to use in order to contact me. He still owes me 10 hours or $2800 which ever comes first. I am still happy at Gunner Aviation in Rancho Murieta, CA and getting close to my commercial checkride!

 

So it appears this discussion has been opened again. I'm wondering and have to ask has anyone else gotten their money back?

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Oh pleasseee.. He's prob still out in the GOM and has no intention of giving anyone any money back. If you got rooked by him, realize that and go on with your training and life. Don't look back.

There should be criminal charges.

Just my opinion.

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At the risk of dredging up a topic from the bowells of the earth...

 

Doug Bawden

Last seen: Air Evac Life Team, Wichita Falls Texas.

Still owes a lot of people a lot of money, and no, the school NEVER got back up and running.

Post-Silver State, nobody seems to care anymore anyway.

 

Cheers.

 

I dont know this guy, I dont know anyone at SS, but I've always thought there should be a neutral bonded third party....take the $$ from the student, post them to an electronic account, the school goes in and makes a payment request and the student goes in and approves it. Could be an hour by hour pay as you go. The difference between this and just keeping your own money in your own account is commitment. You cant just go in and retrieve your money once you commit to it. Withdrawals would be based on some agreed upon criteria. The students money is safe, the school knows they have a certain amount of dollars on deposit so they can plan how many ships they need, CFI's, etc. Besides one reason why schools want money on deposit is, just like Vegas, once you convert dollars to chips you tend to spend more of them !

 

Once a student has 5K in a fund, what does he want to do.....fly !

 

I'll take 2% as my fee for setting it all up....thats cheap insurance!

 

Goldy

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