ARIZONA DECLARES ALL NON PART 141 FLIGHT SCHOOLS TO BE “HOBBY SCHOOLS"
Arizona State Board for Private Post Secondary Eduction met on August 26, 2010, in Phoenix, and officially declared all non part 141 flight schools in Arizona to be not for professional career pilot training.
August 26, 2010
In a stunning development, the State of Arizona has declared all Non Part 141 flight schools within its boundaries to be considered “hobby or avocational schools” and not for the career pilot.
This decision was handed down today from the Arizona State Private Post Secondary Education Board who met in Phoenix to discuss this matter. This board is the regulatory authority in the State of Arizona that oversees and regulates Vocational Education Programs within the state.
The board voted unanimously that all non 141 flight schools are not vocational schools and are not designed for the training of professional pilots. The board declared these non 141 flight schools are designed for the hobbyist that just wants to learn to fly for fun or as a hobby.
In this landmark ruling, Arizona becomes the first state to declare all non 141 flight schools to not be for the professional career pilot.
This unusual decision will cause problems for 80% of flight schools in Arizona that are not Part 141 flight schools, as those schools are now officially deemed to train only hobby pilots. The board made this decision after determining the non Part 141 flight schools in Arizona teach on a one-on-one basis and not as a professional career program.
If the board had found the Arizona flight school were training professional career pilots (as opposed to hobbyists) as a vocational program, then the board would have been forced to establish a tuition trust recovery fund for students that lost money at Arizona flight schools. By declaring these flight schools to be "hobbyist schools" the board will not have to deal with students that have been scammed or treated unfairly in the state of Arizona. So Arizona flight school students have absolutely no protection if a flight school takes their money and does not provide the training.
At this point in time, we can not recommend any prospective career flight school student attend flight school in Arizona.
Parents please do not send your career flight school students to a hobby pilot school in Arizona. This is a serious business and it demands a professional training program.
At the hearing, testimony was given from a number of professionals involved in the flight training industry that students had been swindled out of their money, when part 141 and other flight schools closed without a state recovery fund in place.
One instructor testified that he worked at Silver State Helicopters and could see this flight school was a scam from the beginning. He went to the FAA and to every state agency he could find in an effort to get Silver State stopped in Arizona. He simply was unable to get anyone to stop Silver State while the scam was going on. In the end 200 Arizona students lost over 14 million dollars at just this one flight school. If the board had regulated Silver State Helicopters then the flight instructor would have been able to come to this board and they would have been able to get the scam stopped before students lost their money. In addition there would have been a tuition trust recovery fund in place to allow the students to continue their training.
It is estimated that over 34 million dollars has been lost by flight school students in Arizona over the past 4 years to flight schools that did not deliver the training they contracted for.
One gentlemen at the hearing was a part time DPE and full time airline pilot based in Phoenix and he agreed with the board's ruling and stated that students should “do their homework” so that they do not lose any money and “regulation is not necessary."
So career flight school students, do your homework and avoid Arizona flight schools at all costs!
Flight schools for professional career pilots as well as "hobby pilots", are currently regulated in California, Colorado and Utah. Your tuition is protected in those regulated states. In fact Utah was the only state that refunded students (from the tuition recovery fund) of Silver State Helicopters when the school suddenly shut down all 32 locations in February of 2008.