JUNE 7, 2010. Sacramento, California. Students from Jet University testified before the California Bureau of Post Secondary School Commission today.
The Jet University Student Alumni Association was the only organization present at the hearing that exclusively represents flight school students.
We were able to place in the record that THIRTY SIX MILLION DOLLARS has been lost by California flight school students over the last four (4) years to California flight schools that took the money and did not provide the flight training.
The association has taken the position that flight school tuition paid in advance must be protected so that a flight school student will not pay for services and training that he does not receive.
California has established a tuition recovery fund, going forward, to protect advance paid tuition for most trade and vocational schools including flight schools.
Flight schools in California have until August 5, 2010 to get their applications and registration fees into the bureau.
A Jet University Student Testifying Before the Bureau of Post Secondary School Commission in Sacramento, California on June 07, 2010.
Photo of the Bureau of Post Secondary Education in Sacramento on June 07, 2010.
California flight schools have until August 3rd, 2010 to get their completed flight school applications into the California Bureau of Private Post Secondary Education in Sacramento.
Regulations issued by the Bureau require that flight training facilities with commercial pilot programs submit an application for approval to operate within the state along with a $5,000 application fee.
Here is a link to the California flight school regulations:
In order to receive approval to operate, a flight training school must submit third-party audited financial statements showing that the company has at least a 1:1 asset to debt ratio. The school must remit 0.75% of its annual flight training revenue to the California Student Tuition Recovery Fund and comply with other standard administrative and record keeping requirements.
This regulation means that flight schools will have to meet the financial requirements that other secondary education and vocational schools operate under within the the state of California.
This regulation is decades overdue and we congratulate the state of California for being the second state to regulate flight training facilities in the United States.
This regulation is the result of millions of dollars in student flight school tuition being lost in California over the past several years.
Silver State Helicopters LLC in Chico and Long Beach ceased operations on February 03, 2008 after collecting millions of dollars in tuition from flight school students and not providing the contracted training.
Also in 2008, American School of Aviation in Merced, California closed after collecting millions of dollars in tuition from flight school students and not providing the contracted training.
California and other states were under the mistaken belief that the FAA regulated flight schools. In truth the FAA has never looked at a flight school financial statement, refund policy or required any sort of insurance or any sort of system to protect a students tuition. If a school took a students money and did not provide the flight training the FAA was powerless to do anything about it.
Flight school training, by nature, is the most expensive education that a student can participate in. Tuition costs can exceed $50,000 per year.
We thank those students that participated in the process to make the legislature aware of the need for this regulation. Your cards, visits, letters and phone calls do make a difference.
We invite and encourage other states to incorporate regulation of flight schools into their post secondary and vocational educational laws.
We also encourage strong criminal penalties for those that do not comply with these laws. Let's take the incentive away from those bad guys that will steal money from flight school students and not provide the proper training.
This type of regulation will make it difficult (if not impossible) for dis-reputable people to set up scam flight schools, take students money and not provide the training.
The winners here will be the students and the legitimate flight schools. The scammers will no longer be able to scam students out of their money in California. That means the students will be more likely to attend a legitimate, licensed and insured flight school that has been checked out and approved by the State of California. The millions of dollars in tuition money will then go to the legitimate flight school for actual flight training rather than the scammers who do not deliver.
While we don't know every flight school in California that has taken money from flight school students and not delivered the training,here are the schools we do know about:
Anglo-American Aviation Inc operated from 2001-2008 and hired 11 illegal immigrants as flight instructors during that period.
In 2007, the FAA revoked Anglo American's 141 certificate to train commercial pilots. After the certificate was revoked, Anglo American continued to solicit foreign students and issued illegal visa documents to more than 100 foreign students.
On May 20, 2010, Andrew Burr and Christopher Watson, the former President and Vice President of Anglo-American Aviation pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of hiring unauthorized workers.
Burr and Watson were sentenced to five years probation and the flight school must forfeit $250,000 in illegal profits.
Anglo-American Aviation also pleaded guilty to felony charges of making false statements and issuing false visa documents.
The company now is operating under a different name, American Aviation Academy.
Let's hope the regulators in California are able to get these guys under control and properly regulate their operations.
Link to the story: