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Hey guys. I just got my flight school up and running, and put some advertisement on the air. Within a week of doing this, Silver State Helicopters decides to have a seminar about 80 miles away, and bombard the local stations with promises of no money needed, $50-100,000 dollars per year, and pretty much a guarantee of work. So now I have a couple prospective students whom are questioning me about financing and guaranteed work. I can tell them that Silver State will not give them a job, and that they will pay more after all is said and done by going through SSH, but I have not attended SSH, so what do I know?

 

My question for all of you, is do you know of any former students who are willing to talk about their experience with SSH. It seems to me that one of the major problems is lack of flying time, and that only the top 10% are guaranteed scheduled flying time. I have talked to one ex-student, who stopped SSH, and finished his CFI way before the people in his SSH class had.

 

I think it would be a valuable resource for prospective students, if there were more readily available information from former students about how things worked with that company, and the true availability of jobs when training is finished.

 

As of now, the only answers I can give to the interested folks is that I would just make sure I had all the information before I signed a contract for that kind of money. It would be nice to be able to point these prospective students to a resource for the real information.

 

I am not saying that SSH doesn't work for some people, I just think that their seminars aren't painting a realistic picture of what SSH actually offers. But by the time the student figures this out, they have already signed a contract and loan agreement.

 

Anyway, any advise or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

 

Dave

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Hey guys. I just got my flight school up and running, and put some advertisement on the air. Within a week of doing this, Silver State Helicopters decides to have a seminar about 80 miles away, and bombard the local stations with promises of no money needed, $50-100,000 dollars per year, and pretty much a guarantee of work. So now I have a couple prospective students whom are questioning me about financing and guaranteed work. I can tell them that Silver State will not give them a job, and that they will pay more after all is said and done by going through SSH, but I have not attended SSH, so what do I know?

 

My question for all of you, is do you know of any former students who are willing to talk about their experience with SSH. It seems to me that one of the major problems is lack of flying time, and that only the top 10% are guaranteed scheduled flying time. I have talked to one ex-student, who stopped SSH, and finished his CFI way before the people in his SSH class had.

 

I think it would be a valuable resource for prospective students, if there were more readily available information from former students about how things worked with that company, and the true availability of jobs when training is finished.

 

As of now, the only answers I can give to the interested folks is that I would just make sure I had all the information before I signed a contract for that kind of money. It would be nice to be able to point these prospective students to a resource for the real information.

 

I am not saying that SSH doesn't work for some people, I just think that their seminars aren't painting a realistic picture of what SSH actually offers. But by the time the student figures this out, they have already signed a contract and loan agreement.

 

Anyway, any advise or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

 

Dave

 

 

Actually though, wouldn't it be the case that most...but not all...of the negatives about Silver State will apply to any flight school. And especially a new one.

 

I mean, it is probably true that most new students will probably not get a job with SSH (hell, most probably won't even make it to CFI) but then that would be the case with your school as well wouldn't it? And don't all schools have scheduling problems because, basically, in order to generate enough revenue to pay the bills a school has to overbook the number of students it has the resources (aircraft & instructors) to service? That and everyone wants to fly on the weekends because they are working during the week.

 

And financing...ah financing. Certainly SSH can provide financing, who couldn't at those rates. Show the lender a paystub and a co-signor and he'll shovel all the money at you that you can carry...at 11.25%.

 

And also, of course SSH's "seminar" is not "painting a realistic picture"...it's called marketing. SSH has demonstrated that there are a sufficient number of naive consumers who will believe the sales pitch to make the model work (at least so far). But then, aren't all the carefully worded statements Jerry is making about "$100k jobs", a "shortage of pilots" and "never mind the cost, live your dream" exactly the same pitch you are using to attract students?

 

Now that said...besides being pricier than most of its competition there are some unique drawbacks to SSH that other schools may not have. These revolve around their the one-price upfront payment plan. That's way too risky a program to my way of thinking...borrowing $70k and handing it over with no security to someone with Jerry's history.

 

In any case, are you really looking for "a valuable resource for prospective students"...or just some dirt on the competition? Hope I'm not being too "negative".

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Just an observation, but...

 

I can tell them that Silver State will not give them a job, and that they will pay more after all is said and done by going through SSH, but I have not attended SSH, so what do I know?

 

...most flight school owners (and I know of a few on this board - lurkers) are a little more reserved when it comes to openly discussing other schools.

 

I think it would be a valuable resource for prospective students

What would?

 

if there were more readily available information from former students

..oh, you mean more than there already is on this board...please :(

 

As of now, the only answers I can give to the interested folks is that I would just make sure I had all the information before I signed a contract for that kind of money.

Ah, some good fair advice.

 

But...

 

 

Hey guys. I just got my flight school up and running,
in the same post as...
It would be nice to be able to point these prospective students to a resource for the real information.

 

Be careful. Some folk might get the wrong idea about your true motive here.

 

Dave, forgive me for being tongue-in-cheek in my response. That is how I read it first off. As I don't know anything about SilverState (besides the masses I have read about it from Fry), take my post as an illustration of how an 'objective' outsider may read your stuff.

 

I actually believe that you are looking for this 'SSH-Compendium' so that you can abstain from having to give your prospective students 'the truth' (which as I am pointing out, can sometimes appear biased from you as a flight school owner). However, by the same token, raising another public thread on the subject also runs the same risks.

 

Anyway, in answer to your question, I vote FRY! as the man you seek.

 

Good luck with your business.

 

Joker

 

Hey Fry! I just read your post! It seems we both got the same impression.

 

In any case, are you really looking for "a valuable resource for prospective students"...or just some dirt on the competition?

 

That must mean we agree on something! Yippee! :D

Edited by joker
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And don't all schools have scheduling problems because, basically, in order to generate enough revenue to pay the bills a school has to overbook the number of students it has the resources (aircraft & instructors) to service? That and everyone wants to fly on the weekends because they are working during the week.

 

Sorry fry, that statement is total crap.

 

Why don't you post your background here to back up your inane arguments. If you are going to make such blatant ignorant statements, at least have the gonads to back it up.

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Thank you all for your responses thus far... I can see that I may have come across in the wrong way, as a couple of you have pointed out. My intention was not to sling-mud at SSH, but just to educate students about what helicopter training in general is all about. If I give a student a realistic picture of what they can expect: paying a bunch for training, and then having to find a CFI job (usually entails moving somewhere, and making a very low wage) to build the 1000 hours necessary to get employment with most major helicopter companies, before they can expect to move to the gulf or a tourist spot to get a decent job; then that same student goes to a competitor and get a bunch of unrealistic promises, who are they going to train with? Normally, I would not be concerned, figuring if they try the competition out and don't like them, they will come back and train with me, and vice versa. This all changes when a student is locked into a contract that is very difficult to get out of at a later date. My goal here is not to dirty up the industry with negative pot-shots, just to try and level the playing field a little bit without having to make promises to students that I cannot live up to.

 

I hope this clarifies my position a little bit. I truly am just looking for a resource that I can send people to where they can get honest answers from former/current students. Much like the goal of the "Helicopter Sutdents" thread above that asks students to rate their current/former schools.

 

I hope I have not offended anyone here too much. Thank you all for the constructive critique of my post.

 

Dave

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Hey,

Why not just put together a comparative type list of what your school offers verses other local schools. Isn't knowing you competition part of a business plan?

 

Examples:

We offer pay as you go or block rates.

 

We offer 0-200 hrs for $X amount. X school has 0-200 hrs for $70k.

 

We offer individual courses. X school only has the full program to 200 hrs.

This actually won a lot of new students to my school..As well as the pay as you go and block discounts. My school likes SSH being across the runway. They give the seminars and it doesn't cost my school a penny for advertisement, when the potential students walk in to check out another school, lol..

 

We offer part 61/141 and group or individual ground schools?

 

Etc.. Etc... Etc.....

 

You can include things from all the local schools that you feel you do better in your business.

 

Later

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Well to who that might believe me , My experience has be much more positive than I would have guessed by reading this fourm. I'm have GED nothing more.I was involved in construction before helicopter school and I was happy to be able to attend the school.I have yet to see any of the situations arise that have been the discussions of here.All aspects of the school have of the upmost professional. As to FRY hey jack ass go f yourself jerky. <_<

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You may all agree or disagree with Fry but in my opinion, he brings interesting--or at least thought provoking--points to this forum. One definition of forum is “a public meeting place for open discussion” (emphasis on “open discussion”). Fry brings his opinions to this Forum for open discussion as do the rest of us. You may agree or disagree and that is your prerogative. But regardless of your thoughts about Fry, Fry is very well spoken and very good at backing up his claims with numbers and references and to the best of my recollection, has always taken the high road and has NEVER resorted to name calling despite being constantly lambasted. So, that being said, I urge all of you who disagree with Fry to post your opinions and back up your claims with numbers, references, or your personal experiences. Make smart, intelligent, articulate, and well thought out counter-points. Getting personal and name-calling doesn’t do anybody on this Forum any good and only serves to make YOU look bad.

 

 

-V5

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You may all agree or disagree with Fry but in my opinion, he brings interesting--or at least thought provoking--points to this forum... Fry is very well spoken and very good at backing up his claims with numbers and references and to the best of my recollection, has always taken the high road and has NEVER resorted to name calling despite being constantly lambasted.

 

 

I think Fry's comments would have a little more credibility if he told us his background, and what he does for a living. For all we know, he's just bitter he couldn't hack it as a pilot, and now he works the fry-o-lator at McDonalds.

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Well, even if he only works the fry-o-lator, he's made good points over the past 8 months I've been around to read them. I don't always agree or enjoy his bleak outlook, but I look at Fry as our resident "pull you back to reality" guy. It's not necessarily a bad thing.

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Fry has continually posted factually incorrect data/information - and when called on it he has ingored it, the latest being schools double book like airlines (maybe SSH did it with him when he ws a student there & got screwed). As a consequence, any posts by him have no credibility with me.

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Dave,

 

Were you aware that SSH is moving to Helena. Apparently they don't have too many friends at Butte. Next will be Bozeman, then Billings I imagine. We all will have to deal with their advertising, but as somebody else said, you will get students coming to look at your school who are just trying to compare. I have had several people come in asking for information in this way.

Edited by PhotoFlyer
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I'm going to stick me neck out here...and possibly surprise a few!

 

While I don't care for the continual mention of one school's ethics (it detracts from the the main reason why I visit this forum - to talk helicopters and how to train them), I do see that there is need for balanced discussions what ever the current flavour of discussion.

 

In that case, let's not shoot the messanger - Fry, who has at least gone against the grain in a lot of issues and done the dirty work of balancing out some of our discussions.

 

Yes, there were times when a more tactful approach could be adopted. Not hiding the truth, but choosing the best path to get there. Yes, there were times when Fry may have missed the gist of a thread, resulting in what would appear to be a rant for no reason. And yes, there are times when people come looking for a slap on the back with a smile, rather than a hit in the chops with a scowl! Fry, its these aspects I sometimes took issue with, not the message you are trying to air.

 

Still, its the dirty work that he is doing, and if things truely need saying then consider this: At least we have someone who is saying it. Even if it makes for an easy target in our posts and emotions. Even if it is easy to back the winning horse by having the odd dig here and there (for that, maybe I am guilty too)!

 

One thing I cannot tolerate (and thought we had got over a wave of), is this:

 

As to FRY hey jack ass go f yourself jerky.

 

This 'Wannabe-Pilot' will find himself always a wannabe with an attitude like that. He is not welcome in my eyes to this forum. He owes an apology to Fry (and the rest of the readers). I hope the moderators will watch the posts from this guy.

 

So what am I doing? Well, as a person who early on in this thread (and in other threads) have sometimes taken a friendly jab, and as a relative old-timer in this forum, I guess I am trying to lead by example. Friendly jabs - we all give and take. Some have tougher skin than others. Remember though, the jab is as friendly as it is read or heard, not written or said. Personal insults have no place here. Balanced discussion - we need to encourage it.

 

When posting, use tact and use judgemet too. That judgement includes; choosing when to post, what to post, who to address, but most of all, consideration of how the reader will 'perceive' you you from your post. Remember we communicate to get our information across, so the onus is on use to make sure we are understood. Reader's perception of a message may be far from the author's intended perception. In that case, its the author's fault.

 

If your last 10 posts are bleak, and negative, insulting or insinuating, people will form an impression of you which might not be shakeable in your next post, no matter how right you are.

 

Joker

Edited by joker
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Ok Joker here is your I'm sorry to offend you! Is it acceptable to dog on a school that you have never attened just because he said she said? I take offense to being called stupid for fianancing my training. So for this I cannot thow an insulting remark back? I do enjoy this site and have spent many late nights reading posts.It took some courage to even post here for the fisrt time.I find that people dislike SSH even if they have little or no real first hand knowledge.I have posted real information and have seen it passed over as if it was b.s.Do you think this site is unbiased? I think that there are a lot of haters here.Do you want real unbiased info? I have seen on this fourm people talk of ther're positive experiences with SSH only to be made fun of or called advertisers. It was my intention to be insulting to Mr. Offspring of the fishes and if that insults Mr. can't take a JOKER than so be it! I have plenty of friends and the attitude to succede at anything I put my mind to! except spelling, grammer, ect. Debos Dave I have found that honesty and good intentions go along way in any business.IMHO teaching is one of the most noble professions.

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Ok Joker here is your I'm sorry to offend you!

 

Accepted!

 

Is it acceptable to dog on a school that you have never attened just because he said she said?

 

Yes. If someone comes to me asking about what I know of this or that, my reply could be,

 

"Well, I have never used them, but my best friend did. He said that....."

 

So long as I make clear where my information comes from, I think its alright to pass it on. What I shouldn't do is make false claims. That's why we back up our claims with our source. It's then up to the reader to assess the validity of that claim.

 

I take offense to being called stupid for fianancing my training. So for this I cannot thow an insulting remark back?

 

Where in this thread did Fry call you stupid?

 

I find that people dislike SSH even if they have little or no real first hand knowledge.

 

I hate this too! If you go back to last year, you will see my posts being so angry and frustrated at this fact. (This is where Fry and I first met!) People even thought that I worked there (or was Jerry himself), because I so openly would not jump on the anti-SSH bandwagon.

 

Do you think this site is unbiased?

 

I think this site will always have a bias towards the massess. This is because there are no rules as to imparitality. We have to live with that. I think anyone who can speak for the under-represented is welcome (again - see my posts last year), but they will always be that...under-represented. That's life.

 

If you want a controlled debate, then ask someone (one of the moderators) to try and set one up. It would be quite interesting to do an online 'debate' according to the usual debating format.

 

Hmm (just thinking aloud) Idea for controlled online debate - It could be limited to 26 posts of 800 words max. Chair's Opening, Affirmative, Negative, Affirmative, Negative, Affirmative Summay, Negative Summary, Affirmative Rubuttal, Negative Rebuttal, 13 questions (and rebuttals) from the floor. It could be just the thing Debos Dave is looking for in his first post of the thread. Any takers?

 

Do you want real unbiased info?

 

Am I not making my message clear here? Of course I do!

 

It was my intention to be insulting .... if that insults Mr. can't take a JOKER than so be it!

 

Was it a joker or not? Hey, what I object to is your use of language there. It was totally unnecessary for me to read. You can PM that to him all you want, but I don't need to read that in this thread. Grow up! (Hey, I have a reputation amongst my mates for using foul language! I love it and can swear with the best of them. But I also know when to turn it off. I worked as a teacher so for 8 hours of each day, swearing would not be good. It appears some people don't even know when its appropriate or not, let alone be able to turn it off or on at will.)

 

I have plenty of friends and the attitude to succede at anything I put my mind to!

 

Good for you! That's the spirit! Although it does sound a little like a paranoid self-reassurance affirmation to me.

 

except spelling, grammer

 

Well, here's a start. 'Grammar', not grammer....er...joke ok?! Actually, I think taking care in these two areas goes a long way towards success. Hint#2 - Try breaking up your text with paragraphs every now and again.

 

Well, that's all from me. Bye.

 

Mr. Apparantly-I-Can't-Take-A-JOKEr!!!

Edited by joker
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I think the original question in this thread was something about “How can I better market my flight school”.

 

I would take a look at the common problems that are reported from the competition; For instance.

1. Having to pay upfront (in full) before you go flying.

2. Having to wait 6 months before you get flight time.

3. Waiting for flight time.

4. Not being given the option to pay as you go.

5. Not having a voice in the flight school as a customer (this one is my biggest gripe).

 

Start with honest marketing, and address these issues with potential students. Take time with each prospective student, this means a great deal to someone who is thinking about spending $50k for o-CFII.

I visited 5 flight schools before I settled on the one I obtained my ratings at. I can tell everyone that if a flight school wouldn’t answer my questions and didn’t return my calls; They got crossed off my list. Students need to understand it’s their money; they should have a voice in how they spend it. Not the flight schools!

 

RW

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Dave,

 

Were you aware that SSH is moving to Helena. Apparently they don't have too many friends at Butte. Next will be Bozeman, then Billings I imagine. We all will have to deal with their advertising, but as somebody else said, you will get students coming to look at your school who are just trying to compare. I have had several people come in asking for information in this way.

 

I saw that they were moving to Helena, maybe that is why they were advertising a new seminar up there. I know there can be good things that come from their advertising, such as bringing attention to the industry, and bringing potential students to me, which is good, but I would like to be able to give prospective students a way to compare schools without me just talking.

 

I only started this thread to try and get some current/former student information to give to prospective students that are looking into their program. That is the best way to rate a school, so I was hoping there would be some willing students who would like to give their critique of the school, good or bad. I think Joker had a great idea for an online debate.. perhaps then we could get an accurate picture of what the training is like there.... get the pros and cons, I think it would be a great resource for potential students. I looked into their program before I started training, and it was very difficult for me to get answers, other than a brochure or seminar...

 

 

Wannabe,

 

I appreciate your input as to your experience with the school. I hope your training with them brings you to where you want to go! It is good of you to share your experiences, as it takes both good and bad feedback to give a school its credibility. Just remember when you are interacting with others and you are trying to give the school a good image, your attitude and interaction will reflect on the school as well as yourself.

 

Again, thank you all for your input, I am not sure this is the thread where I will send prospective students LOL... but maybe we will eventually get some more school critiques in the section above...

 

Have a great one!

 

Dave

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I can tell everyone that if a flight school wouldn’t answer my questions and didn’t return my calls; They got crossed off my list.

RW

They pulled that with me after I attended their seminar. I took my buisness elseware and am really happy with my decision. I knew a girl that started at SSH three months before me in 03' and is now working on her CFI. I feel sorry for her but she jumped into it uneducated about SSH. Good luck with your buisness DebosDave. Later.

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Posted at JH:

 

At whatever location you are training at a Silver State Academy, please post the number of students enrolled and the number of training aircraft based there.

 

I visited one location and talked to a poor young stiff who told me that there were 50 students just finishing up their ground school, and another seminar planned in the next week. They had 3 R22s, two of which were down for unspecified maintenance for several weeks and had one ship flying (all day, every day). He was told each student would fly three times a week and was actually only flying once a week.

 

With 50 students flying three times a week, that is 150 flights per week. You would need 6 R22s flying 25 hours per week and possibly one or two more to account for maintenance down time and 8-12 instructors. Assuming each student will need at least 150-200 hours to get through all his ratings, this would take 50-66 weeks. So even if that location had all three helicopters running and staffed with an adequate number of CFIs, they would only have enough helicopters to service 1/2 of their current student load. And what about the next 50 students that will start flight training after completing ground in a couple of months. At that point they would need 12 R22s.

 

This is to say nothing of the fact that it is ludicrous to only fly three times a week at a full time flight program where all the funding is in place AND you have been required (also, for no good reason) to complete all ground school before doing a single flight.

 

http://originalforum.justhelicopters.com/D...2066&page=1

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here are a couple more from JH:

 

So if the sky is falling where are we going to fly?

 

But seriously, I doubt that the Elmer Gantry of flight training is going to spell doom for the helicopter industry or tarnish our professional image (we can do that ourselves thank you) . The reality is that most of those entering flight training (at SSH or any other school) to "live their dream" will never make it to actually generating a paycheck as a pilot...that is, beyond the CFI apprenticeship. And those that do, having gone through 200 hours of training and another 800 or so of instructing, will have sufficient experience to begin to do the job (if they still want to after realizing what the job really is).

 

The shame of SSH (and the way it is different from most other schools) is in the way that the contract with the student and loan arrangement is slanted so much to SSH's benefit. If after signing up the wannbe pilot decides for whatever reason that flying is not the career choice for him SSH still keeps a big chuck of his loan monies...regardless of the level of training provided.

 

But, it's a buyer-beware world out there kiddies so...well...beware.

 

And from "Former SSH":

 

First of all, not flying until you are done or nearly done with ground school is a fantastic idea, it weeds out those that really want to learn from those who don't. Granted those who don't are screwed out of some money, but... whatever.

 

Second of all, of that new class of 50, a few will quit every week, and while they will be learning a costly lesson, they won't take up a spot in a helicopter to do so.

 

My class had 130 students and by the time I finished (in 8 months) we had 14 helicopters. I was the first one done, but over the next few months, all of the instructors at my school where in my class. There were a few of my fellow classmates still plugging away on their private 3 years later. I flew 4 or 5 times a week during my training and the training was good. We had brand new aircraft and good instructors. They bailed at 1000 hours and so did I (and my classmates). It's a horrible company to work for, but not bad to learn at. You get your money's worth if you stick with it. If not, well thanks for helping to pay for the shiney new helicopters SSH buys every week. How many flight schools buy 2 new helicopters a week?

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Wanna be pilot: You need to check yourself, this is a civil forum for professionals seeking information. If you are not mature enough to have a decent argument, go somewhere else, there are enough nay-sayers in this industry as it is.

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Some of you may remember the silverstatetruth.com site,well I find it interesting that it now puts you straight to the silver state helicopters site.Leave it to Jerry to get his way. Anyways , I still find it hard to believe that people are still interested in attending this school after all they have heard about the lawsuits and scheduling issues.(new blood)Scheduling issues alone should raise a red flag despite all the other problems .Now I dont beleive everything "I" hear but it dont take a helicopter pilot to figure out that it probably wouldnt be their best choice in schools. So if your looking into the SSH program, thats fine.But first call every one of their locations and just ask the nice young lady who answers the phone this simple question: HOW OFTEN DO THE STUDENTS FLY PER WEEK? I can almost guarantee they will tell you most will fly maybe 3 times a week. Do the math ,make your choice. People posting here are just trying to save you any headaches,so you should be thanking them for their input not questioning their credibility and possible experiences.

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