Monday, May 11, 2009

Becareful when paying for flight training.

Flight training can cost a lot of money. Be very careful choosing a flight school. Never pay all the money up front! Jet University recently closed it's doors and took several students money with them. The school I went to (ATP) takes the tution in chunks. Each part is due at a set time. This way the student is protected in case they change their mind or if ATP folds.

Flight School Grounded, Students Allege Fraud


Dozens of students at a Fort Lauderdale flight school say they lost tens of thousands of dollars after the program they registered for was grounded.

They told CBS4 News Reporter Joan Murray that when they showed up for class at Jet University on Friday located at the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, the owners announced they were shutting their doors.

One affected student is Anna Pelevina who says she paid $70,000 with the hopes that she would receive an FAA license and employment as a pilot at the end of the program. Instead, all she got was debt.

"We have been wanting to do this since we were kids. It's our dream," Pelevina said referring to herself and her fellow students.

Students came to Jet University from around the nation and the world.

Travis Middleton says he moved here from Wisconsin to fulfill his dream.

"I'm devastated. I'm out $70,000 and no one else will be willing to give me a loan," he said.

Students say they were misled by the owner Heath Cohen. CBS4 News contacted Cohen by phone. He said his business partner decided to shut the program down.

The partner denies that and says he sunk $300,000 of his own money into the business. He wants a full investigation.

Meanwhile, the students say they are taking their case to Florida's Attorney General. They have since met with a private attorney to discuss ways they could resolve the issue.

(© MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)


  1. Those poor people. This may be the deal breaker that will eliminate their chances in becoming a professional pilot. During the last resession, I had $300 on account at a local FBO. The FBO had been bought out by a Japanese company that was bringing students over giving instruction and then sending them back to Japan with a CPL, multi and insturment rating.

    About a year after this buyout occurred, the FBO/Flight academy weny BK. Some of the students lost a lot of money and were stuck here without a place to stay or a ticket home. I think they all eventually made it home ok.

    I showed up the day after the doors were closed. All I had in it was $300. One of the instructors was in the office. I talked him into letting me take some folding tables from the classroom in exchange for taking my $300 off of the books. I still have and use the tables (this was 18 yrs ago). I know the tables weren't worth $300, but I know I did better than most of the students.

  2. That really is a sad story. Some of these folks will not have another oppurtunity to further their flying careers.

    Things just look really bleak for flying here in the U.S. Outside the country, in places like India, China, Japan air travel is expanding.

    I found this clip online, you may have already seen this. It would be nice to hear your take on this.


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