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From SSH Pilot at JH:

 

I think it's save to say that in every business there are customers who are unhappy with the product. That's why that can of Mt. Dew can has a customer service number on it.

 

SSH's only sin is not being more selective. The 14k hour pilot who said that summed it up nicely. Ever tell someone you are a helicopter pilot and they say "oh neat! I wanna do that!" That is the reaction a lot of people have when they hear about it the first time. If they have good credit, welcome!

 

Now I'm sure a few guys have stopped by the BMW dealership "just to look" and saw themselves as the kind of person the always wanted to be. He get talked into buying one and having a bigger monthly payment then he can really afford. He has his car, but he's not the chick-magnet playboy he saw himself as. Sure, that's what the guy looks like in the commercials, it's called marketing. You don't see these guys protesting BMWs crying about how they were misled. Why? Because they signed a contract, and everyone is taught when they were little that car salesmen can be tricky. Nobody thinks that about helicopters because it's something so far removed from most people. They are too trusting.

 

Jerry shows up in a 222, talks about all the helicopters the company owns (true), all the jobs they have done (again, true in small numbers), and all the work out there (true), and talks about all the pilots that will be needed (true). He also says that he doesn't say he will hire everyone (true), and you can get done in 18 months while working full time (true, it took me 10).

 

Now if you walk away from that thinking all you have to do is show up and fly, and all this untold adventure will be yours, how is that his fault? At my old school, they have dozens of students who simply don't show up for flights. Trust me it sucks when you get paid only when the student shows up. Why don't they show up? The excuses are too many to list, and some are very comical. Students who only show up once a month to fly can not get done in 18 months, sorry. This is not SSH's fault. Some locations don't have enough helicopters (this is mostly an older problem), but i was in the first class with one helicopter for 3 months and I still got done in 10 months, some of the people that started with me don't yet have ppls yet.

 

SSH is an opportunity. Quit yer bitchin'

 

A response:

 

"SSH's only sin is not being more selective."

 

It's not a "sin"...it's their plan. Their business plan is to attract and then shear the sheep. It is the same business plan used by health clubs...i.e., marketing that appeals to the customer's hot button (with gyms it's guilt; with SSH it's the always-exciting occupation); a pressure sales pitch ("this deal is only good for today"); and, sell to more customers than they have resources to service knowing that a high percentage will not show up. It's not rocket science and it's not anything new.

 

The difference between SSH and other businesses using this model is the dollars involved. Losing a couple of thousand bucks on a gym membership you don't use my be embarrassing but it probably won't put a permanent dent in anyone's lifestyle. Financing about $80k ($70k for the program and another chunk in deferred interest over 18 months) over twenty years will add up to more than $150k and that can be a significant hardship. Especially to the "working adults"...those with jobs, families and mortgages...that make up SSH's target market (targeted because they can qualify for the financing).

 

But especially egregious is SSH's practice of charging 10% of the contract price per month...i.e., unrelated to any services used. Even if the customer realizes after four or five or ten months that he does not have a future in aviation he is still stuck with a significant part, if not all, of the contract price.

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