DeLand flight school abruptly closes : Regional Airline Academy


Well-known member
Nov 25, 2001
Total Time
DeLand flight school abruptly closes
By Al Everson
posted Feb 13, 2009 - 1:17:17pm
A flight school on the DeLand Municipal Airport has closed, leaving students wondering how they will complete their training, or if they will receive tuition refunds
Regional Airline Academy abruptly shut down Friday, Feb. 6, according to DeLand city officials and students interviewed by The Beacon.
"The school took the money. Some of the courses they did not give," said Michael Lockman, who identified himself as a former student at Regional Airline Academy, and who first alerted The Beacon about the shutdown.
Lockman said he had been contacted by other current students whose classes had been canceled without warning, and said the school's offices at 1200 Flightline Blvd. had been closed. Lockman said he owes thousands in student loans he borrowed to fund his flight-school training; he is working to organize a class-action lawsuit against the school.
Efforts to contact the school were unsuccessful. Calls to Regional Airline Academy were answered with an automated system. After a caller pressed a number for the Admissions Office, a recorded voice advised messages could be left, but ended with the words, "That mailbox is full. Goodbye."
Another student, Nathan Downey, said he is one of approximately 100 students suddenly locked out of school.
"I'm a full-time student, and I'm just trying to receive training, and I'm unable," Downey said, noting he owes about $16,000 in student loans. "I borrowed money from Sallie Mae to finish my education. I can't get a job unless I finish, and I have to pay back this loan."
Downey, who said he first came to the school in the fall of 2008, recalled events leading up to Regional Airline Academy closing.
He said he had met with his instructor Feb. 5.
"For the last couple of weeks, I was unable to fly," Downey said. "Your training was basically on hold."
Hours in the air had been steadily reduced to "one flight here and there," he added.

"My last day there was Thursday [Feb. 5]. I came home and did my homework. About 10 o'clock [p.m.], I checked my e-mail, and I got a 'Dear Student' [notice]," Downey said.
In retrospect, Downey said, there were signs of financial trouble, especially in December.
"I found out they stopped accepting students. I thought that was kind of strange. How are they going to stay in business?" he said.
Like Lockman, Downey said he is contemplating a lawsuit against the school.
Airport Manager Nick Landgraff said he learned about Regional Airline Academy's closing Feb. 6. Landgraff recalled the DeLand school's enrollment had increased not long before its closing.
"They closed the Fort Pierce and Mesa, Ariz., [schools] and consolidated to the DeLand location," he said. "They won't answer their calls right now."
When the Fort Pierce branch of Regional Airline Academy closed a few months ago, Landgraff said, there was an influx of training pilots wanting to gain experience in the cockpit.
"Most of the students came from India," he said. "It was a good flight school, and we hate to see it go."
In addition, Landgraff remembered, several employees of Regional Airline Academy had been laid off in December.
DeLand Community Development Director Dale Arrington said she, too, learned about Regional Airline Academy's closing Feb. 6, when "I had an anonymous student call me."
She added, "We received no notice on this, at least none that I know of."
Arrington said the school owed money to the city.
"They were behind on their rent. We had sent them a default notice," she said.
Companies, nonprofit organizations and government agencies may own buildings and other improvements on the airport, but the City of DeLand owns the land.
The airport customarily does not sell the land, which was turned over to the city by the U.S. Navy when the Navy closed the DeLand Naval Air Station after World War II.
Landgraff said he and Arrington are trying to arrange for students to receive refunds of their tuition.

Amish RakeFight

Registered Loser
Dec 28, 2005
Total Time
Flying Ninja in 3...2...1..... :rolleyes:

It is disgusting the way these flight schools operate. I've seen plenty of these places shut down with no warning and steal students money. Aw well... I suspect these students are mostly foreign.


Rare user
Aug 22, 2002
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Wasn't one of the owners of this place also the owner of the school that did the exact same thing at a school at ORL in 2003 or so?


Well-known member
Dec 18, 2001
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This same school did the same thing back in 2000 or 2001. When are people going to get a clue and stop paying so much money up front?


Well-known member
Jun 1, 2005
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5200 +
Re:Like Tab Express!!!!!!

This sounds a lot like Tab EXpress,which was also located at DED!!!
They did the same thing this place did,fold up in the middle of the nite and run,no where to be found!!!!!!
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TEB Hilton resident
Nov 25, 2001
Total Time
They did the same thing this place did,fold up in the middle of the nite and run,no where to be found!!!!!!

did you check north jersey?