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What Helicopters of America Did

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The information below has been posted to forewarn any unsuspecting students or flight instructors from getting involved with Helicopters of America, located in Pompano Beach, FL (Formerly known as Pompano Helicopters [cite: conversation with John Amber]). I stand by all of the statements below and attest that they are truthful. I stand by them so much that I invite anyone to contact me via telephone, e-mail, or AIM to discuss the issues if you are curious in getting involved with Helicopters of America.

 

Before reading the story below, just note that not everyone at Helicopters of America is bad. Two of the full-time staff instructors are real stand-up gentlemen (and excellent chess players as well). One of them has let me substitute for him twice to fill my time and the other offered to give me a student of his full-time when he saw I was struggling. The mechanics are also great guys. One of them lent me a helping hand during his lunch break while I was changing oil in my car.

 

On Monday, January 21, 2008, John Amber of Helicopters of America called me offered me a job.

 

He told me he had a vacancy for flight instructors, looked over my resume, contacted my references, and wanted to hire me. He told me that before I start, I need to complete my CFII and R44 SFAR transition, but as soon as I do, to head down to Florida because he has students lined up waiting for me. I accepted the job over the telephone. About 90 minutes later, I sat down for lunch with my examiner. I told him how excited I was because I just accepted a job as a flight instructor in Florida. He told me that he was disappointed because he was thinking about offering me a job. He suggested I call the flight school back and request 48 hours before I finally accept the position. I thought it was a good idea, so I did just that.

 

48 hours passed and I didn't have a definite answer from my examiner about the job. I didn't feel right stringing Helicopters of America along, so I called up John Amber and accepted the job. He hired me over the telephone. Due to a combination of weather and the instrument trainer reaching its 100 inspection limit, I had to postpone my checkride for the following Wednesday.

 

I schlepped back to Maryland to pack up everything I own and then back to my examiner's flight school to complete my CFII and R44 transition. The night of Wednesday, January 30, 2008 I completed my exam and called John Amber to tell him I was headed down. I told him I will be available to work Friday morning. He responded excitedly, eager to get me started.

 

Wednesday night I began to schlep down to Pompano Beach, FL. I arrived Thursday evening but since the flight school was already closed, I checked into a Motel 8. Friday morning I showed up for work at 08:00. John Amber had me sit around for most of the day and do nothing. One of the other flight instructors offered to let me take his student for a ground school lesson. I took him up on the offer. John told me to show up the next day (Saturday) around 09:00 so I can take my operational checkride with Craig Stafford, the senior flight instructor.

 

The next day I showed up at 09:00 as ordered. I sat around for the majority of the day doing busywork for Jim Howard, the owner of Helicopters of America. At the end of the day, they let me take my checkride. I think it went well. After flying for just over an hour, we brought the helicopter back. I sat down with John and Craig. They told me that they wanted me to fly again. There was no constructive criticism - they just wanted to see me fly a second time.

 

That night, because I couldn't afford to keep paying $143.19 every night to stay in a Motel 8, I moved into an apartment, fronting up a month's rent and a security deposit with a guarantee that I would reside there for at least 60 days.

 

On Sunday I showed up at 09:00 as ordered. Once again I sat around for the majority of the day doing busywork for Jim. At the end of the day, I flew again with Craig. Once again, I thought the flight went well. Craig even said, "You flew very well today." At the end of the flight, John told me that they didn't have an answer for me but I should come in first thing in the morning and we would sit down and discuss my flight.

 

On Monday I showed up at 09:00 as ordered. Jim gave me busywork to do during the day. At the end of the day John called me and Craig into his office. Craig told me that my flying was good but that he thought that I should fly with another instructor for a second opinion. John told me that I needed to fly with a guy named Brian who has a very limited schedule, but he would try to contact him and set something up.

 

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I came into work, ran around doing busywork for Jim, all the while, waiting for John to hear back from Brian. On Thursday he told me that Brian wouldn't be available until the following week, so I was going to have to fly again with Craig for yet another checkride.

 

Friday I finally was able to get on Craig's schedule to fly with him. He wanted to fly with me twice, but the second flight he told me was at my expense. When we got back to the hanger, I told the receptionist that the flight would have to be taken out of my paycheck. She told me that wasn't possible. I later found out why...because Helicopters of America wasn't planning on paying me anything. So I handed her a credit card and as I did so, I looked at John Amber and asked, "I'm going to have a chance to earn this money back, correct?" He responded, "Yes. Absolutely. We have students lined up for you. "

 

During the flight debrief with John and Craig, they told me that the flying went well but that I needed to fly again, at my expense, to learn the airspace. As soon as you finish the next flight, we'll put you with students. I got on the schedule for Saturday, but we were thunderstormed out.

 

Sunday morning I met Craig at the airport at 07:30, helicopter preflighted and ready to go. We took off and flew south, passing through Fort Lauderdale Executive's airspace, Fort Lauderdale International's airspace, North Perry's airspace, Opa Locka's airspace, and Miami International's airspace. After passing out of Miami International's airspace, we fish-hooked around and headed north over the coastline. I flew over the sand because that's how I was taught - always fly over areas where you can make a powered-off landing if necessary. "Fly over the water," Craig told me. "If the engine fails, autorotate into the water."

 

The rest of Sunday I sat around the flight school and did nothing - literally nothing. They required me to be there to do nothing.

 

On Monday morning I showed up at 09:00 as ordered again. Once again I did busywork for Jim all day. At the end of the day, Jim, John, Craig, and I all sat down to discuss the flight. Jim told me I was wrong for flying over the sand because "Everyone else flies over the sand so we fly over the water." (Of course this information wasn't pivied to me prior to the flight.) At the end of the meeting, he concluded that the flight went well but because Craig forgot to chop my throttle, I had to fly with him again. Jim asked me, "What would you do if you were flying over a canopy rainforest and you had an engine failure?"

 

"Autorotate into the trees?"

 

"And break your back? Have you ever heard of flaring your helicopter so that the tail strikes the ground and absorbs the brunt of the force?"

 

"No."

 

After Jim left the room, Craig, who was too cowardly to step up to the plate while Jim was in the room told me, "I would have said the same thing. I didn't know that's what you're supposed to to."

 

Then John interjected, "Yeah, me neither."

 

Tuesday we were thunderstormed out and on Wednesday Craig was all booked up. Finally we got to fly on Thursday morning. Craig throttle chopped me three times and we flew three autorotations, all well within CFI standards. Before finishing the lesson I specifically asked Craig how I did. "You did fine. Don't worry about it," he told me. The rest of the day I made myself busy taking orders from Jim Howard. "Rob, go get me my car keys," he ordered me.

 

At the end of the day John Amber called me into his office. "Rob, we're letting you go," he told me. I started inquiring how they could make me move down to Florida, rent an apartment, and come into work every day for 14 days straight, leading me to believe that there was a job for me, when in fact there was no job. He just kept saying, "I'm sorry, I wish there was something I could do." He told me he would pay me for my time and to come in tomorrow to pickup a check.

 

As I packed up my belongings, Jim Howard and Craig Stafford were outside smoking cigars. "You need about ten more hours of flight instruction," Jim told me. Having never flown with me, I speculate this was just a scam to try to sell me more flight time at my expense.

 

I came in the next day and John told me that the check wasn't ready for me yet and I should call again tomorrow. I've called every day since Saturday. Yesterday, they started wising up and screening my calls. I know this because I called nine times and on the ninth time, the receptionist put me through to John. He read my phone number back to me off the caller ID when he said he would call me back.

 

Nine days after being "let go", they still have not paid me for the 112 hours I worked at $20/hour ($2,240), $263.38 for my travel expenses, $511.75 for mileage reimbursement to move down to Pompano Beach, the $352 they made me pay for training (which John Amber told me I would have the opportunity to earn back), or the $4,194 needed to get my CFII and R44 SFAR signoff required for the job.

 

Just a note to add, incase this story of horror hasn't convinced you to steer clear of Helicopters of America (located in Pompano Beach, FL) - their helicopters are some of the most unsafe ships I have ever seen. R22 Helicopter tail number: N122AK constantly leaks oil, the entire engine is covered in it. There is a crack on the left side of the engine that John Amber told me is no problem at all. The throttle sticks, so during run-up you run the risk of an engine overspeed as you attempt to throttle up to 75% RPM. And the main fuel tank gauge doesn't work - it always reads "full". Craig Stafford told me to just use the "tapping" method to see how much fuel is in the tank. The strobe light doesn't work until the engine is started and none of the helicopters have a VOX intercom, only a PTT switch. And according to Craig, "[He has] never flown with door hinge safety pins installed. The doors stay on themselves."

 

After getting "let go" by Helicopters of America, I had the pleasure of speaking with two other flight school owners in the area. When I told them what happened, they told me that they weren't surprised and these actions were "typical of Jim Howard".

 

As previously stated, I stand by my statements and will discuss them with anyone either online or over the telephone. Feel free to contact me if you'd like.

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That's terrible, you must be disgusted.

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That's almost worth someone else, pocket voice recorder ON, attempt to get hired.

 

I thank you for sharing your experience, and don't give up.

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Ring...."Hello? FSDO? I think you should take a swing by Helicopters of America.

 

Your story sucks dude...and if it is true I feel bad for you. If nothing else being jerked around will make you more cautious in the future. The part that scares me is the flaring the tail into the ground and poor maintenace that you describe. If they are telling students to ignor broken fuel gauges then do everyone a favor and call the local FSDO and ask them to take a visit.

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I also agree that its unusal for them to say to flare the tail rotor into the ground...uhm, that's not correct technique. Are you sure they weren't testing to see if you'd stick to your answer?

 

And as far as the fuel gage...it is on the MEL for every certified aircraft. Meaning you can't fly without it...Even though they suck and usually are inaccurate (and I never trust them...you should know your max fuel burn and calculate from there after you dip the tank if possible or know exactly how much fuel is in there in your pre-flight). Maybe another test...don't know for sure. Maybe they were testing your decision making.

 

I had to edit this posting today...I originally stated I was sorry for what had happened. Now that we hear from HOA, and the other side comes out... As I wrote above, you WERE being tested.

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The aircraft are unairworthy yet you spent 14 days trying to get a job flying them and flew them yourself as PIC for 4 flights?

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The aircraft are unairworthy yet you spent 14 days trying to get a job flying them and flew them yourself as PIC for 4 flights?

 

The broken fuel gauge is on N122AK (the red and white one, no picture). I didn't find out until after the flight when the auxiliary gauge was reading empty and the main gauge was reading full. "That doesn't look right," I told the instructor. (Craig Stafford) "Yeah, the fuel gauge doesn't work in here," he told me. I refused to fly that ship again. Technically I wasn't the PIC on any of the flights - the other instructor was, not that that's justification for flying in an airworthy ship.

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I'm stumped as to why you would pay $143.19 every night to stay in a Motel 8.

 

It was the weekend rate. And for Motel 8s, it really wasn't that bad. I don't recommend walking around the room barefoot though. There were clipped finger/toenails in the carpet.

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I'm not a lwayer or a law student or anything, but I'm studying business in college and just finished up a business law class that deals with sales, contracts, agreements, consideration, etc... If what you're saying is true and unbiased, you may be able to get your money back. Now normally I wouldn't help someone with any type of court claims because A LOT of suits are pure fraudulent and done just to extort money out of certain individuals. I hope this is not your case.

 

Whether or not you and the owner of the flight school made a contract or not (remember a contract does not have to be written), your expenses such as the move down to Florida, the Motel 8 rental, and the security deposit for the apartment may still be recovered, even if there was no consenting contract. In your case, I do believe the flight school made a contract with you based on his offer of a job to you and your acceptance over the phone. Let's say I'm wrong, and in fact there was no contract made, your story looks like it could fall under something called promissory estoppel, in which the defendant (flight school) made a promise that the plaintiff (you) relied on. In promissory estoppel cases, no contarct needs to have been made, just a promise that you relied on. If he hired you over the phone before moving down to Florida, you relied on his promise of employing you when you moved down to Florida, whether there was a contract or not. To use promissary estoppel, you must prove that, 1)the defendant made a promise knowing that the plaintiff would likely rely on it. 2)The plaintiff did rely on the promise; and 3)The only way to avoid injustice is to enforce the promise. Again, no contract needs to have been made. You relied on the flight school's acceptance to be employed there and in turn moved down to Florida and incurred expenses doing so.

 

Also, any work you did at the flight school, contract or no contract, promise or no promise, will fall under something called quasi-contract. This is when the defendent (the flightschool) did not make any kind of promise, but did recieve a benefit from the plaintiff (you). You said you had done various work for the flight school throughout the 14 days you were there, including some ground with a student. This is a benefit the flight school recieved at your expense. This is quasi-contract. Under quasi-contract you must prove, 1)The plaintiff gave some benefit to the defendant. 2)The plaintiff rerasonably expected to be paid for the benefit and the defendant knew this; and 3)the defendant would be unjustly enriched if he did not pay. If a court finds all of these elements present, it will generally award the value of the goods and services that you, the plaintiff, has conferred. These damages awarded are called quantum meruit, meaning the plaintiff gets "as much as he deserved." The court will award you money that it believes you morally ought to have (based on the work you did at the flight school), even though there was no valid contract entitling you to it.

 

Now, if you and the flight school did enter into a contract, promissary estoppel and quasi-contract will not apply to you. From what you said, the flight school offered you a job over the phone, you accepted the offer, and the flight school hired you over the phone, this is an oral contract. Let me tell you why I think this is a contract. 1)There was an agreement, in which one party made a valid offer, and the other party (you) accepted. 2)There was consideration, there was a bargaining between the two of you that lead to an exchange between you and the flight school. 3) There was legallity, in which the contract was for a lawful purpose; and 4)there was capacity, in which both parties are adults and are of sound mind. The flight school may fight the whole thing by saying there was a contract but you did not fulfill those requirements. For exapmle, you wrote about getting your CFII and R44 transition as well as any checkrides with the company you may have had to pass before working for them. Did you fulfill all the requirements of this contract? If not, then you failed to perform and the court will discharge the contract meaning you failed to perform your part of the contract by getting your CFII, R44 transition, and any checkrides to be passed. If you did fulfill your part of the contract, however, then the flight school breached their contract between you and them.

 

Again, I am not an attorney and I am only writing this to you, based on what you've written, to inform you. If you did go to court, it would be under small claims, but go see a lawyer if you want some more info. Oh yeah, forgot to mention, some of this is under California law, I don't know if this the same for all states or not. For example, Florida may not honor quasi-contracts or promissary estoppel, etc...so go seek some legal advice.

Edited by JAC

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The flight school may fight the whole thing by saying there was a contract but you did not fulfill those requirements. For exapmle, you wrote about getting your CFII and R44 transition as well as any checkrides with the company you may have had to pass before working for them.

 

Thanks for all the info. During the telephone conversation with John Amber, there was no mention of a checkride. Was that supposed to be assumed? Also, if it was assumed, could they argue that I just "didn't pass the checkride" and therefore the verbal contract is null and void?

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I'm sorry you went through that, Robert. I interviewed there back in 2006 with John Amber and the owner. I took a written test, then did a flight with one of the instructors. It took about 5 tries to get the aircraft running and I was highly annoyed, although the CFI they sent me up with seemed like a decent guy. They lured me down there by telling me they needed someone to fly their "Air Taxi" out to the Bahamas and back in one of their 206's. When I actually went down there and spoke with them, that was changed to "flight instruction for about 500 hours, then a transition." Luckily I was already instructing at a school up in Northern Florida and didn't need the job. The so called "Chief Instructor" was actually one of my CFI students. While he wasn't that bad a guy, I refused to continue training him, and he was dismissed from the school.

 

Bottom line: STAY AS FAR AWAY FROM HELICOPTERS OF AMERICA AS POSSIBLE.

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Thanks for all the info. During the telephone conversation with John Amber, there was no mention of a checkride. Was that supposed to be assumed? Also, if it was assumed, could they argue that I just "didn't pass the checkride" and therefore the verbal contract is null and void?

 

Well, it depends. It could've been implied, but this is where it gets complicated and you probably want to talk to someone with experience in these types of matters. If it were me, I would take my losses and go elsewhere. It's probably not worth your time and effort pursuing this.

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From Darlene Howard

Helicopters of America

February 25, 2008

 

Helicopters of America takes great care to make certain all of our students have the ability to learn, at the highest standard of education that may be provided them. According this, we are reluctant to hire any Certified Flight Instructor we feel may not meet minimum requirements to satisfy our own benchmark.

 

We believe Mr. Schapiro lacks the proper judgment and assimilation of training that would normally be attributed to a Private Helicopter Pilot, to say nothing of a CFI.

 

Following six check rides, we simply could not sanction hiring him or assigning him any students. His skills are wanting, and we regret that much energy was expended for the sake of affording everyone good will, where such good faith has now been turned upon us.

 

Having made this statement, Helicopters of America asserts we are a very safe school, and none of our pilots, at any time during our business lifetime, has been cited or otherwise reprimanded, in writing or verbally, by the FAA or any other supervising agency with command therewith.

 

We strive to achieve and maintain exemplary safety standards at all times. All our Beta Helicopters are in fine working condition, and while they may not include the avionics of Beta II helicopters, all equipment aboard is in working order. We encourage our students to treat the helicopters as if nothing was working, in order to maintain a specified level of diligence.

 

We strongly encourage all pilots-in-training to heed the recommendations of their instructors, as well as pilots who have gone before them to achieve superb flight records. We welcome all such persons, gladly, to our flight training academy.

 

Sincerely,

 

Darlene Howard

President & CEO

Helicopters of America

 

~ “Through These Doors Walk the Finest Helicopter Pilots in the World!”

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From Darlene Howard

Helicopters of America

February 25, 2008

 

 

We believe Mr. Schapiro lacks the proper judgment and assimilation of training that would normally be attributed to a Private Helicopter Pilot, to say nothing of a CFI.

 

Following six check rides, we simply could not sanction hiring him or assigning him any students. His skills are wanting, and we regret that much energy was expended for the sake of affording everyone good will, where such good faith has now been turned upon us.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Darlene Howard

President & CEO

Helicopters of America

 

~ “Through These Doors Walk the Finest Helicopter Pilots in the World!”

 

I'm still a student, so please don't take this as anything other than an honest question: Does it really take 6 check rides to determine that someone is not qualified as a PPL "to say nothing of a CFI"?

 

It seems like if his skills were that deficient, one or two might tell the story without needing to keep a potential employee hanging out for an extended stay for no compensation and at considerable expense of his own.

 

What would a potential employer cover in their multiple check rides that the DPE wouldn't cover in one? Is it just a matter of the DPE doing a series of random spot checks (i.e. not comprehensive) and the interview checkride covering a wider gamut of skills?

 

Although I don't have enough experience in this industry to know what is normal, I do know that in many other industries the potential employer would cover expenses (lodging, per diem, transportation) if they were interested in a candidate enough to want him or her to stay for an extended interview.

 

Thanks for any additional information you can provide as, I would sincerely like to know what to expect when I am at a point that I'm starting to interview for my first employment as a professional pilot.

 

Thanks,

Kelly

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As far as would I fly over the sand or the water my answer would have been it depends on:

 

How crowded the beach is and my altitude since I won't fly low over a populated beach

 

Which way the wind is coming from since that will tell me where the KITES AND KITE STRING are located.

 

There are also other factors but if they just say we fly over the water because they fly over the land then they are the ones who need some edufication!!!!

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As far as would I fly over the sand or the water my answer would have been it depends on:

 

How crowded the beach is and my altitude since I won't fly low over a populated beach

 

Which way the wind is coming from since that will tell me where the KITES AND KITE STRING are located.

 

You know, I wouldn't have even thought of that. That's one for me to make sure I remember as I start flying over the coast (and open fields in general). I'm sure some of the more experienced on this forum keep kites and such in mind from habit, but it had never occurred to me.

 

Thanks SikPilot!

 

Kelly

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From Darlene Howard

Helicopters of America

February 25, 2008

 

Helicopters of America takes great care to make certain all of our students have the ability to learn, at the highest standard of education that may be provided them. According this, we are reluctant to hire any Certified Flight Instructor we feel may not meet minimum requirements to satisfy our own benchmark.

 

We believe Mr. Schapiro lacks the proper judgment and assimilation of training that would normally be attributed to a Private Helicopter Pilot, to say nothing of a CFI.

 

Following six check rides, we simply could not sanction hiring him or assigning him any students. His skills are wanting, and we regret that much energy was expended for the sake of affording everyone good will, where such good faith has now been turned upon us.

 

Well, that answers what I said in my post. He was being tested.

 

As a former flight school owner, we had similar situations with pilots, some very high time guys. I've personally conducted extra flight checks with a prospective employee that we wanted to hire. After multiple attempts, it sometimes would not work out. I believe that decision making is a huge part of the process. Although we don't know what transpired between the parties, H of A has to make the decision that best suits them. It looks like they tried more than enough check rides to try and get Mr. Shapiro though, and for whatever reason, they choose not to retain him. It's their business and reputation on the line, not to mention the lives of those in their aircraft. They did spend considerable money and time on their part also attempting to get Mr. Shapiro passed though their hiring process.

 

We'd all like to say that everyone that passes the FAA checkride is good enough, but anyone in the business knows that the FAA passing rate for a rating is 70%, while all schools and companies have much higher standards. I've had numerous pilots good enough for the FAA, but fail miserably on an insurance checkride.

 

Like I said before, we do not know exactly what happened as we weren't there, but the final decision must be made for the good of the business.

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Well, that answers what I said in my post. He was being tested.

 

As a former flight school owner, we had similar situations with pilots, some very high time guys. I've personally conducted extra flight checks with a prospective employee that we wanted to hire. After multiple attempts, it sometimes would not work out. I believe that decision making is a huge part of the process. Although we don't know what transpired between the parties, H of A has to make the decision that best suits them. It looks like they tried more than enough check rides to try and get Mr. Shapiro though, and for whatever reason, they choose not to retain him. It's their business and reputation on the line, not to mention the lives of those in their aircraft. They did spend considerable money and time on their part also attempting to get Mr. Shapiro passed though their hiring process.

 

We'd all like to say that everyone that passes the FAA checkride is good enough, but anyone in the business knows that the FAA passing rate for a rating is 70%, while all schools and companies have much higher standards. I've had numerous pilots good enough for the FAA, but fail miserably on an insurance checkride.

 

Like I said before, we do not know exactly what happened as we weren't there, but the final decision must be made for the good of the business.

 

 

Definitely as a business owner/operator it's important to be comfortable with your decision (and it is the owner's/CP's decision to hire or not based on their standards). The part that is a bit odd to me is that it took 14 days to make the determination. I would hope that if someone felt my skills were so lacking that they would tell me within one or two checkrides and would make an effort to conduct those interviews in a timely fashion.

 

Mr. Shapiro should bear some responsibility in allowing the process to drag on for as long as it did (sorry, just my opinion, after 4 days with the experience you had with HOA, I think the signs were there that they weren't going to close the deal with you whether because of your skill level or any other reason - 14 days is too long). However, I also think a business also has a responsibility to treat current and prospective employees with respect and deal with them in a timely fashion. It's good business to establish a reputation as a company that deals fairly with employees and interviewing candidates. Your reputation has impact on the quality of employees you attract and retain.

 

Of course, I'm a grumpy middle-aged guy who's been on both sides of the hiring desk for many years and, as has been pointed out multiple times, we don't (and probably never will) know the full story. I'm sure that both Mr. Shapiro and HOA understand that both individuals and companies reputations are built over time and not with isolated events.

 

Sorry if I was wordy or overly opinionated in this thread. The subject caught my attention and I got caught up in a bit of armchair analysis.

 

Best wishes to both HOA and Mr. Shapiro in any future endeavors.

 

Kelly

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From Darlene Howard

Helicopters of America

February 25, 2008

 

...

 

We strongly encourage all pilots-in-training to heed the recommendations of their instructors, as well as pilots who have gone before them to achieve superb flight records. We welcome all such persons, gladly, to our flight training academy.

 

Sincerely,

 

Darlene Howard

President & CEO

Helicopters of America

 

~ “Through These Doors Walk the Finest Helicopter Pilots in the World!”

 

I completely understand and support a private business owner's right to choose who they hire and who they don't. There is no constitutional right that states that someone must be hired. However, the fact of the matter is, I was hired. If Helicopters of America chose not to allow me to fly with students, that is their own prerogative. However, I still worked for 112 hours and was not compensated a single dime. Furthermore, my phone calls inquiring when I might receive payment were ignored. Now even the most lenient of flight schools must protect their own interests, but this is no excuse for not paying someone for the time they've worked. We have a word for this - it's called "slavery", and there is a constitutional right against it (cite: US Constitution, Amendment XIII).

 

Furthermore, I would like to point out that by posting the information above, I understood that I am putting my own reputation on the line with literally nothing to gain - Helicopters of America still refuses to compensate me for my time. However, the rebuttal posted by Helicopters of America clearly was posted to protect their own interests.

Edited by Robert Schapiro

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I completely understand and support a private business owner's right to choose who they hire and who they don't. There is no constitutional right that states that someone must be hired. However, the fact of the matter is, I was hired. If Helicopters of America chose not to allow me to fly with students, that is their own prerogative. However, I still worked for 112 hours and was not compensated a single dime. Furthermore, my phone calls inquiring when I might receive payment were ignored. Now even the most lenient of flight schools must protect their own interests, but this is no excuse for not paying someone for the time they've worked. We have a word for this - it's called "slavery", and there is a constitutional right against it (cite: US Constitution, Amendment XIII).

 

I am sure that you also know that at alot of flight schools the instructors do not get paid for "desk time" they only get paid while engaged in ground/flight training. I believe this is how HOA operates, and if this is the case, it seem's like you are out of luck. If you did not take it upon your self to determine if you would be paid while you sat around and did nothing (as you openly said you did), then that would be a fault on your self.

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I am sure that you also know that at alot of flight schools the instructors do not get paid for "desk time" they only get paid while engaged in ground/flight training. I believe this is how HOA operates, and if this is the case, it seem's like you are out of luck. If you did not take it upon your self to determine if you would be paid while you sat around and did nothing (as you openly said you did), then that would be a fault on your self.

 

I discussed this issue with John Amber. He didn't advise me that I wouldn't be paid for desk time until the Monday before I was "let go". However, I still gave 4.7 hours of ground instruction to a student for which Helicopters of America refuses to pay for. Also, and maybe this is just my opinion, but I believe that if they weren't going to pay me for desk time, they should not require me to come in on days that there was nothing for me to do.

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Robert-

This is just my two cents and you certainly have the right to express the fact that you feel wronged by the situation. However, I dont think you're doing yourself any favors. There are plenty of flight school owners, cfi's, chiefs, and students on this site. You still need a job. How do you think an owner or cheif is going to read your resume after following this thread? They know that you apparently didnt pass a flight interview once, you threatened legal action afterwards, and you generally defamed the reputation of the school(waranted or not). Will they be willing to give you a second shot over someone else? I would not and I suspect others reading this may not either. I just googled your name and this came up...expect your future students to do the same. How will they react to this? It is very hard to remove this kind of thing from the internet and while it may seem like a good idea now out of righteous indignation it may follow you after you've moved on from this experience. I am not making a judgement as to whether you are right or wrong about your indignation. It is very difficult for anyone to make a fair judgement based on an internet posting, especially when both sides make a compelling argument. Perhaps a milder and anonymous rebuke of HoA would have been more prudent. Again, I'm sypathetic to your situation and I do think you probably were wronged by being strung out like that and not told you were being tested, but I dont think its wise to follow the course of action you're currently on for the sake of your career.

Good Luck.

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