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Flying school or not ?

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  • Flying school or not ?

    For the last two to three years I have been following the daily blog of a microlight flying school, this school [ and i use the term loosely] recently celebrated four years of training but as far as i can tell not one "student" has gained their GST or even gone solo.
    It seems the "school" just sells cheap voucher flights through bucket companies with no intent of training.

    I have asked the proprietor for pass figures but none to date.
    Is this legal ?

  • #2
    Flying school or not ?

    It's entirely legal for a 'school' if they so desire to just do trial lessons, or specialise in other parts of training such as type conversions etc, without taking abinitio students through to a license completion. There are lots of instructors that operate that way.

    What wouldn't be good though is to purport to offer full
    License training and then fail to provide the service. But that wouldn't be illegal as such unless they took money they wouldn't refund - but refunds are only obligatory in the specific case of being unable to supply a reasonable service.

    Any doubts at all then it is wisest to pay as you go rather than up front.

    It's entirely possible that an instructor may desire to take students through, but has a personality that students don't gel with them and slope off elsewhere. Being such an unpopular fellow is not illegal - otherwise jails might be quite full



    • #3
      Flying school or not ?

      Whilst I bow to your superior knowledge I have continued to follow this schools antics.
      I have to report still no sign of successful student or one who has made it to solo or even any student at all!
      It seems the mass selling of trial flights continues and given the recent run of windy weather the customers stand little chance of ever getting off the ground.
      This is how it works.
      First sell a cheap voucher, these usually have a short shelf life and given that you boast of being fully booked for weeks on end the pressure is on to get your flight before it expires, but fear not help is at hand.
      Hey ho, the school will give you one of theirs, you are saved, not quite ! You tell the voucher company you have had the flight the school get paid and you get another voucher.
      Bingo you can't complain to the voucher company because the school has got you to lie.
      Then as time runs out on the next voucher due to so many flights being backlogged you are stuffed as under the terms and conditions of the school voucher even if you can't get your flight in due to weather no refund is given, or cough up another 25 to extend it.
      The school has not flown now for 8 weeks so under the terms and conditions which run to 301 lines, yes thats right 301 lines not words, I feel customers are being duped.
      Is this something the BMAA should be looking into ?


      • #4
        Flying school or not ?


        If you're concerned about the commercial practices of a business you should approach your local Trading Standards office. They suggest you do it via the Citizens Advice Bureau.

        "Call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline and tell them you want to report a trader to Trading Standards. The consumer helpline will assess your problem and pass it on to Trading Standards if it's appropriate.
        If you live in Northern Ireland, you'll need to contact Consumerline and tell them you want to report a trader to Trading Standards.
        Citizens Advice consumer helpline
        Telephone: 03454 04 05 06"

        That's from their website.

        Just for the avoidance of doubt and in case anyone reading this doesn't know - Simon isn't talking about me!
        Martin Watson
        Microlights in Norfolk
        Fixed Wing Instruction - Exams and GSTs - Revalidations
        07805 716407


        • #5
          Flying school or not ?

          Thanks for the pointers I will make an effort in the new year but the school is selling vouchers far and wide to people several hours drive away, even to people who stay in a hotel overnight and then get cancelled. what chance of them coming back ? nil to zero ?
          Mr Average won't realise whats going on to complain, so it continues.
          And to all readers I confirm no it's not Martin !


          • #6
            Flying school or not ?

            Simon, I too follow the blog of this school, out of morbid curiosity really but I get what you are saying. It all seems to me to be shady if not considered illegal practices. As I run my own business and flying school then my main worry about the said practices is the damage being done to the Name of Microlighting! I couldn't say whether I lose any business from the bad image being created, however surely there is a risk that all microlight schools could be 'tarred with the same brush' . One bad apple etc etc. The spirit we all operate in is to get people in the air, to enjoy the experience and hopefully want to do more. If a school is turning more people against our activity than encouraging them into it then I think we all lose out. Not sure what the bmaa could do in this case, but I guess they despair at the bad image being created as much as we do!
            Cheers Rob


            • #7
              Flying school or not ?

              And the blog goes on, this weeks jem is that vouchers are selling well, and then . . . . .hasn't flown since Oct 24th, Why not one may ask ? I have and I as those who know me am very much a fair weather flyer, and yes in his locality so weather wise there have been a few suitable days. Today was one so we will see.
              But as we all know flying cost money, much more cost effective to stay in the hanger and trouser the cash !
              Come on BMAA start digging.


              • #8
                Flying school or not ?

                Well here we are August, and still no word on his blog regarding a hint of a solo student or indeed a success at GST, although around March time he did say two students are ready to go solo, pure fiction ? Who knows ?
                What prompts me to write again now is todays blog gem.
                Any one not being at the airfield half hr before the flight will be deemed to be late and loose their money, fair enough you may say but they still loose their money if the flight is cancelled due to the weather and would never have taken place. What a gem !
                Action regarding such practices as these are now long overdue in my mind.


                • #9
                  Flying school or not ?

                  Have you written to all eight members of Council outlining the problem?

                  Have you complained to Trading Standards?

                  Have you raised the issue with the CAA, as the Instructor accreditation is theirs?