Airman closed until further notice..

viper548

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Very good idea 997. He's right about the bank. Even if it was the bank that screwed up, they won't tell you that. Keep in mind it is the bank that has already given the money away. They'll do whatever it takes to get it back, even if that means lying to you. Call an attorney, the District Attorney, the media, the FBI, etc.

Edit: The stuff you guys said about Brenda saying how easy it is to get the loan changed sounds sketchy. There's obviously a good size group of you in this together. I would suggest that the bunch of you hire a private detective to check this out.
 
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MFRskyknight

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viper548 said:
Call an attorney, the District Attorney, the media, the FBI, etc.

I'm getting in touch with the local media outlets, and tomorrow I plan to contact the Oklahoma Attorney General about this. I will get signatures, statements, records, whatever I can from other students, and there are lots of us.

Interestingly, one of the county's assistant DA's is a part owner of the school, from what I've heard. I would think there's a potential conflict of interest issue there, but....I don't know that much yet.

Somebody said something about being dead in the water without the 141 certs.... in the past day and a half, a couple of the more honest employees have been in contact with the FSDO trying to get something worked out. Don't know much of the details, but there are a number of people with writtens to do and checkrides to polish off, so maybe they'll do some sort of temporary waiver? Like I said, not sure how that works, so I'll wait till someone with more knowledge on that speaks.

Grrr....anger, growing...beer supply, diminishing....

MFR

PS -- Does anybody know about TAB Express down in DeLand, FL, and how that situation worked out with Key bank, the students, and what happened to the people who ran it? I heard the Florida Attorney General launched an investigation into it, but I'm not sure what that means. I was reading about that today, and just wondering, since it looks like a near-identical situation.
 
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MFRskyknight

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flyinlow67 said:
When I was then in '01, most of the planes were leased from Christinsen in Tulsa. I think there were two or three that actually belonged to AFS.

Nope. Christiansen owns them all, and they is all going back to him. Tomorrow, I think.

MFR
 

philo beddoe

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We need to come up with some informal organization that would act as a communications group to promote the no-pay-upfront message.
Sort of a "union" for student pilots. A website, real-life horror stories and other info for the prospective student that would essentially try to talk them out of any upfront payment plan. The group could target students at schools all over the country. We could strike fear into corrupt school owners everywhere.
 

User546

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Norman aviation school folds wings at OU airport
By Robert Medley - The Oklahoman

NORMAN - The Airman Flight School, behind on its rent, has closed its doors and left at least one international student fearing she has lost thousands of dollars in tuition.

Airman, the flight school where accused terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui trained for three months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, had subleased a building and space from the University of Oklahoma at OU's Max Westheimer Airport.

George P. Bernhardt, a Houston-based real estate attorney for Baker Hughes Inc. -- the company that leases the Airman building -- said eviction proceedings started against Airman in Cleveland County District Court in late August.

Baker Hughes has a lease with OU through the end of October, OU spokeswoman Catherine Bishop said.

Airman was late on its rent to Baker Hughes, Bernhardt said, but had been granted an extension through the middle of September to leave the airport building. Bernhardt said he did not know Wednesday that Airman closed.

"I had not heard that, but I am not surprised," Bernhardt said.

Tracey Opoku, 25, whose home is in Accra, Ghana, arrived in Norman Aug. 15 after paying $14,700 to take a three-month fall course at Airman. She said she learned Tuesday the school had closed.

Opoku said an instructor at the school, Juan Carlos, called her and said he had been advised by an attorney to tell all students, "the school has been closed down until further notice."

Carlos could not be reached Wednesday.

'I am stranded here'
After applying for flight school in May, Opoku signed a contract for an Airman flight course. She enrolled Aug. 29 at the flight school on the north OU campus, 1950 Goddard. She said she has been told the school closed Sept. 1.

"I have to get a lawyer now. I am stranded here," Opoku said from a friend's house in Arlington, Texas. She said she is staying with the friend until she can find a way home.

She said she has spent about $16,000 with her tuition and other expenses.

Opoku said three students enrolled this fall were from Africa. She said one man was from the Philippines and another from Japan. Other students were from England, Panama and the United States, she said.

Roland Herwig, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration in Oklahoma City, said the agency has been notified of the closing.

The FAA is responsible for regulating flying safety at flight schools, but not the business aspects of schools, Herwig said.

Although the Airman Flight School is an OU tenant, Bishop said she did not know why the school closed.

Brenda Keene, Airman's director, could not be reached for comment.

Keene told The Oklahoman in June the school had about 85 students.

Walt Strong, Max Westheimer Airport director, said the school's enrollment had declined since 9/11.

Airman gained notoriety after the attacks when it was learned Moussaoui attended the school for three months before 9/11. He is the only person charged in the attacks.

Strong said a decline in the general aviation industry also hurt Airman.

"Their business has been struggling for a while," he said.

The school's doors were locked Wednesday.

Opoku said she is furious because she thinks Airman officials knew the school was closing Sept. 1 when she enrolled just days earlier.

International students who had planned to attend Airman will not be able to enroll in OU's aviation programs this fall. The deadline to enroll was April 1, aviation programs coordinator Renee Mitchell said.
 

FlyingToIST

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Besides international students, how many of you did the research on the flight schools that ran with the money they collected from poor students? Also, I always tell people, the cheapest is not always the best.. Go with the one that is a bit more reputable then the others. Shelling out $$$$$ is not something that I would take it lightly..

I place the blame on people who were looking for a "quicky" on their flight training as much as on the people at Airman..
 

minitour

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Just got off the phone with Key Bank.

Not too bad of a situation there. All I need to do is come up with bank statements/cancelled checks for the money I was given and the rest I'll be off the hook for.

Anyone out there, I'd advise you to do the same. Call Key Bank or go in if you can...talk to someone in person.

Good luck!

-mini
 

A Squared

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User997 said:
There was another academy down in Florida that did this same thing a couple three years ago (ACA, ATA??) and despite the school closing with hundreds of thousands of the students money, Key Bank demanded repayment in full from the students - regardless of the situation. They have a bad reputation for handling situations like that. And that wasn't the only place.

And why shouldn't they? they loaned money to the student, not to the flight school. If you chose to take the money that has been loaned to you and hand it over to a flight school which takes the money and runs it's no the bank's problem. You borrowed the money, so you owe the money.

In Minitour's case, where more money was "loaned" than he requested, it seems the was some malfeasance, and perhaps the bank didn't do what it was supposed to. Fortunately, it seems mini is off the hook for the "extra"
 

MFRskyknight

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philo beddoe said:
We need to come up with some informal organization that would act as a communications group to promote the no-pay-upfront message.
Sort of a "union" for student pilots. A website, real-life horror stories and other info for the prospective student that would essentially try to talk them out of any upfront payment plan. The group could target students at schools all over the country.

I would love nothing more. Unfortunately, come December of next year (which gives me some time), I will begin making repayments on a loan that never yielded me even half of what I paid for, since Key bank disbursed it directly to me. I suppose I should have known well enough to see the red flags with that, but by golly, I didn't. Maybe I will spend my time traversing the country as a motivational (or de-motivational, depending on how you look at it) speaker, slowly trying to recoup my loss while I scare the next generation of dumb young'uns away from slimeball aviation outfits. Maybe I'll turn into one of those frustrated guys who goes to work for AOPA or something just to wage this battle...::shudder::. And the thing is, Airman's been around quite awhile, so you'd tend to think a little better of it with that kind of longevity. Wolves inside of sheep, and all that...

I just ran down to the store to grab the paper, looks like I've already been beat to posting the story. I just wish I could add onto that line about Brenda being unavailable for comment....because she's probably in f*ing Mexico by now!!!

philo beddoe said:
We could strike fear into corrupt school owners everywhere.

I feel like all I have left is revenge. Is it time to light up the Bat-Signal?

MFR
 

rcbullock

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Ok, I might draw some flames for this but here goes:

If anyone wants to fly with me to work on their ticket AND THEY WERE FLYING AT AIRMAN WHEN THEY CLOSED, then I will do their instruction for free. They pay for the airplane, and if I like the way you fly, you may get some rides with me in my C182. Where you rent is your choice. The easiest would be Cruise Aviation, if not the cheapest, but the instruction's free, so that's an offset.

I am a CFI/II. I can also help with a CFI initial rating, I've got the 200/2 requirement met.

I will be able to help with a limited number of students. I have a small business and other obligations.

Notes/disclaimers to ward off standard flightinfo flames (I know someone's just waiting):

- I'm trying to help out with the situation.
- No, I do not normally work for free.
- Yes, I know I will get 'free' flight time, but I own a plane and get paid to fly it by the USCG Aux from time to time, so it's not that big a deal for me. As a matter of fact, I flew 8 hours for them Tuesday.
- This offer is open only to students who had money on deposit with Airman and were working on a ticket when they closed.

Please direct flames and insults elsewhere if you are planning on clicking that reply button.
 

User546

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rcbullock said:
I am a CFI/II. I can also help with a CFI initial rating, I've got the 200/2 requirement met.
What's this 200/2 your talking about?
 
3

350DRIVER

And why shouldn't they? they loaned money to the student, not to the flight school. If you chose to take the money that has been loaned to you and hand it over to a flight school which takes the money and runs it's no the bank's problem. You borrowed the money, so you owe the money.

A Squared hit the nail right on the head, I couldn't agree more. If "you" were given that money then you should be held completely accountable for that amount that was handed to you regardless of the situation(s). You got it, regardless of what you decided to do with it once you received it. I feel for the folks that are out the money but lesson learned would be not to give the e n t i r e lump sum up front and pay per course, per rating, etc, so if this would happen at your flight school you would have obtained the training that was paid for and the remaining money left "in your pocket" could be taken elsewhere that would allow you to finish your training. The last thing I would ever do would be to drop $30,000 -40,000 up front unless I was 100% certain of the school's current financial situation and even at that I would still be somewhat skeptical about what potentially could happen at some point down the line. Unfortunate what took place, I feel for the students who are now going to be out a substantial amount of money but in reality this certainly isn't the first flight school to close it's doors and it surely won't be the last.

Contrary to popular belief, I truly don't buy into the negativity that some have painted here with regards to Brenda, don't think she was out to do this nor do I think she "took" the money and ran and I am pretty confident in time that the facts will come out.

Speculation is only speculation, I suggest a few put emotion aside and step back and await the many answers that still have not come out yet.

Easy to crucify those without knowing all the details, easier to place blaim on certain individuals without knowing what that inner circle had been going through in the weeks leading up to this closure.

take it day by day and time is your best friend at this point.

Don't rush to make conclusions here, easy to do when emotion is running wild from many.
 

Beer&Brauts

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I haven't kept up much since I left Airman as a CFI in '97. Does Johnny C. still own the place?
 

pdkaviator

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rcbullock said:
Ok, I might draw some flames for this but here goes:

If anyone wants to fly with me to work on their ticket AND THEY WERE FLYING AT AIRMAN WHEN THEY CLOSED, then I will do their instruction for free. They pay for the airplane, and if I like the way you fly, you may get some rides with me in my C182. Where you rent is your choice. The easiest would be Cruise Aviation, if not the cheapest, but the instruction's free, so that's an offset.

I am a CFI/II. I can also help with a CFI initial rating, I've got the 200/2 requirement met.

I will be able to help with a limited number of students. I have a small business and other obligations.

Notes/disclaimers to ward off standard flightinfo flames (I know someone's just waiting):

- I'm trying to help out with the situation.
- No, I do not normally work for free.
- Yes, I know I will get 'free' flight time, but I own a plane and get paid to fly it by the USCG Aux from time to time, so it's not that big a deal for me. As a matter of fact, I flew 8 hours for them Tuesday.
- This offer is open only to students who had money on deposit with Airman and were working on a ticket when they closed.

Please direct flames and insults elsewhere if you are planning on clicking that reply button.


Thats a very generous offer RC. I hope someone will have the chance to take advantage of your services.
Feel sorry for the guys and gals that were affected by the closing.
 

A Squared

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350DRIVER said:
A Squared hit the nail right on the head, I couldn't agree more. If "you" were given that money then you should be held completely accountable for that amount that was handed to you regardless of the situation(s).

Thanks, that's not to say though that I don't have any sympathy for those who lost money, I do, It sucks, big time. Unfortunately, it it is an all too common story with flight schools, I've seen it time and time again, both nationally and locally, a flight school pushing hard to get large deposits of money, when in reality they were teetering on the brink of financial disaster. It's a shame that it's difficult to get word out to folks about this, unfortunately the folks involved are usually fairly young and haven't seen this pattern repeat itself many times.
 

MFRskyknight

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A Squared said:
Thanks, that's not to say though that I don't have any sympathy for those who lost money, I do, It sucks, big time. Unfortunately, it it is an all too common story with flight schools, I've seen it time and time again, both nationally and locally, a flight school pushing hard to get large deposits of money, when in reality they were teetering on the brink of financial disaster. It's a shame that it's difficult to get word out to folks about this, unfortunately the folks involved are usually fairly young and haven't seen this pattern repeat itself many times.

It is a shame indeed. After hearing quite a few success stories about this place, it seemed like a wise investment at the time. I'll be the first to admit I got ripped hard by this, but it's not going to happen again, to me (obviously), or to anyone else if I have anything to do with it. Somebody made a comment about taking out sort of a public service anti-scam flight school ad in those flight training mags, either in this thread or somewhere else. That looks like a step in the right direction to me.

MFR
 
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