how is this an FAA infraction?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by classicrock, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. classicrock

    classicrock Pre-Flight

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    some context

    In 2014, I started my private pilot training at a school in Southwest Houston(based at Sugarland Regional) and after several bad experiences with CFI’s who had poor interpersonal coaching skills in the cockpit, I decided to look at some other schools. At that time I did still have money on account at the school and understood that they would not refund any of the money. It could be used to rent planes in the future but of course I was and am not licensed yet so I can’t rent there. I found another school in NW Houston(at David Hooks Airport)and in first 2 months at the school, made more progress than in 8 months at the other school. Last spring, I called up the school at Sugarland Regional, scheduled a lesson with a CFI and went up. Good lesson. Decided that, I would return another time to take another lesson, and returned to my training at the school in NW Houston. this week, still having money on the account at the first school, I called up, scheduled another lesson. Then today I got a call from the owner of the school and he basically said that I could no longer have a lesson at the school unless I continued my training there. He claimed that to do otherwise would violate FAA regulations. Now I am not about quit my training at the school where I am. And the only option he will give me now is to return after getting my license and rent planes there.

    Now I simply do not know all the FAA regulations that a flight school owner operator must comply with to keep to keep their school open yet is it a real FAA infraction to provide a lesson to a person who isn’t likely to finish his training at THEIR school?

    intelligent replies requested
     
  2. coloradobluesky

    coloradobluesky En-Route

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    Never prepay anything.
     
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  3. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    Just have a lawyer (or a friend pretending to be a lawyer) write a demand letter demanding your money back. If that school is that hard on not giving money back, I am sure they won't want to spend more money to not give you your money back.
     
  4. rk911

    rk911 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    in the long run you're not out anything since you can use the funds towards a rental when you complete your training. and you acknowledge knowing that. the only way you lose is to not finish training. if it were me i'd stay with your current CFI but beyond that i would call and ask him to cite the specific rule.
     
  5. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Final Approach

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    Is one school Part 141 and the other Part 61? If so, the 141 probably doesn’t like the idea of you putting hours in your log that isn’t under the control of their approved program. I’m not an expert on 141 rules but I’m guessing there may be verbiage that would foster that belief by the 141. I’d have to take time to read up on it.
     
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  6. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    He is full of it. No such regulation.
     
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  7. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Definitely ask the owner to explain the claim. The answer will help you in any subsequent negotiations since the claim is false.

    I had a program try to force part 141 stuff on me because it benefitted them. I said no to the extra time.
     
  8. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Yea, no such regulation. He sounds like a good BS’er toward someone who doesn’t know any better. As Clark said, have him explain his rationale and ask for a source to his claim.

    With that being said, I definitely would use the credit towards aircraft rentals later down the line.
     
  9. oregonboy109

    oregonboy109 Line Up and Wait

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    Sounds like a 141 reg he's talking about. I'd second the opinion you should use the credit towards rentals and finish your training at the other school.
     
  10. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I don't think it's a reg, I may be wrong but don't believe I am. They do have a syllabus that has to be followed under 141 but their CFIs are capable of instructing a 141 or a 61 student, and their planes can be rented out to anyone, not just restricted to school use. I've instructed at 141 schools and we could do 61 students also.
     
  11. TommyG

    TommyG Cleared for Takeoff

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    The place is full of it. Tell him to quote you the regulation you are violating. And then demand the money back otherwise you go public with his BS intimidation game. Tell him you will be on every website, forum, Facebook group asking publicly and naming the school specifically.
     
  12. oregonboy109

    oregonboy109 Line Up and Wait

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    Ya maybe it varies by 141 outfit, some are certainly more restrictive than others. I read the op (possibly incorrectly) as the owner saying doing lessons with the first school (141) then going to the second school, then returning to the first school is an FAA infraction. I'm guessing the owner is talking about a 141 issue and may be blowing hot air as I agree this sounds like an issue with the 141 tco/syllabus rather than FAA regulations. Maybe the owner is "confusing" them on purpose to get the OPs money. The only reg I can see applying besides hour reductions is examining authority issues if the 141 school has it. Still it sounds like the OP is having more success at the second school so I'd say finish up there.
     
  13. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 Pattern Altitude

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    If it's Anson, they are 141 according to my findings.
     
  14. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform Pattern Altitude

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    Ask him to point you to the reg.

    Also, don't think that your money is safe there forever. If the school shuts down, you've lost your money.

    Lastly, why should they know you're getting lessons elsewhere? Have the old school instructor fill out a sticker or a new logbook
     
  15. classicrock

    classicrock Pre-Flight

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    a prior person posting guessed that it was Anson Aviation and yes that's who it is. and the owner was either quoting FAA or 141 reg. what he is claiming is that he cannot schedule lessons with someone knowing they would not finish their training at the school. and yet 2x earlier this year they did just that with me. and so possibly the owner is lying about a reg being violated or he is now choosing to enforce the reg after previously overlooking it?

    anyone knowledgeable about 141 reg in this situation?
     
  16. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    Where you may or may not finish your training is something that will not be ascertained until it actually happens, which is some time in the future. So he is basically asserting that he would be committing a thought crime by training you. Doesn't hold water.
     
  17. saddletramp

    saddletramp Line Up and Wait

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    I taught at a Part 141 for 4 to 5 years. Granted, it was a few decades ago. We were very busy since it was when all the vets were using their GI bill to learn to fly.

    We had students come & go all the time.

    Violation of FAA regs...I call horse biscuits to that one.
     
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  18. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Now offering reverse discounts.
    I wonder if a call to (281) 929-7000 would produce something in Classic Rock’s benefit?

    And Rock, you are aware that the AOPA rep for Texas is based at West Houston? Yes?
     
  19. FORANE

    FORANE Pattern Altitude

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    Ask him to reference the rule and then tell him that you will be contacting the faa to explain the situation and get their viewpoint.
     
  20. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    It's generally considered bad taste to violate state law in the process of calling someone out for a bad business practice.
     
  21. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    As others have said, I'd ask him to point to the regulation he's citing. But I'd make the request in writing (via e-mail or letter) in the hope that he'd respond in writing with something demonstrably false.
     
  22. Half Fast

    Half Fast Pattern Altitude

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    Assuming the OP convinces the jerk that he’s wrong and being a jerk, should he then really want to take training from the jerk who is now PO’d at him?

    It seems to me there’s little point in stirring this one up apart from some momentary personal satisfaction. Just finish training elsewhere, then use the remaining cash deposit to pay for rentals.
     
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  23. eetrojan

    eetrojan Pattern Altitude

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    How much money are we talking about?

    Why not “decide” to quit the other school and continue your training there at the first school that’s holding some of your money, announce your soon-to-be-reversed “decision” in a friendly and not overly coy manner so they’re happy, burn off the money, and then change your mind and decide to resume your training at the other school?

    Don’t bother telling the other school of course since you’ll be right back.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
  24. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route

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    Here's a guess. Something in their 141 says all training must be according to the syllabus. So he is taking the stance that they can't train you once you've broken the syllabus by training elsewhere. Which wouldn't be a problem as long as they picked up right where they left off at their last lesson with you. Try telling him that you understand that you are out of their 'program.' I dunno, is their something that says 141 joints can't be doing 61 stuff on the side?
     
  25. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 Pattern Altitude

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    In the OP you said you understood they wouldn't return the money. So as you probably signed the papers a lawyer threat may not help... it might, but you're real only choice is probably continue training elsewhere and go rent from there later, as others have mentioned. From the sound of everything, (crappy cfi's there and better training elsewhere) that seems like the best option anyway. Especially since you made more progress in one month elsewhere than 8 months at Anson.
    Sorry to hear all this is happening. Puts a bad taste on a great learning adventure.

    Just a thought... Go ahead and swallow the situation. Shake his hand, tell him you'd love to rent later, go kick that PPL in the ass and come back and fly their plane....smile all the way.
    Then come grab a beer with us at the next fly in.
    If there's any left haha
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
  26. Harold Rutila

    Harold Rutila Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Even if it were a Part 141 program, the fact that you're training elsewhere isn't relevant, except if you are a foreign student training under a TSA authorization -- in which case we're talking about a homeland security problem, which is clearly not the issue here.

    Tell the owner you quit and want your money back. It shouldn't be a problem unless you have already signed the money away. Even then, the withholding of a deposit may be illegal under your state's laws.
     
  27. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    The call him back and ask if denying the refund is worth you blasting negative feedback about their slimy practices all over the interwebs and social media to warn others.
     
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  28. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    That.

    Just like a stuck nut, just requires more force to get the desired result.
     
  29. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Line Up and Wait

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    I'm not sure why this is an issue anyway.
    I mean it's "money in the bank". You have credit to rent when you get your PPL (unless I misunderstand this) and you prefer the other school anyway. So just let it sit there and use it when you want to rent a plane?

    What am I missing here?
     
  30. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    That it's not their money to hold hostage
    That they are flat out lying

    And that any company that cheap, you probably don't want to trust their aircraft
     
  31. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    They can go out of business any time and he loses all of his remaining deposit. Even if he could get a judgement against them he would not be able to collect.
     
  32. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

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    If he put it on a credit card and the school bellies up, he can get a refund, the CC company eats it.
     
  33. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach

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    He's full of crap about violating FAA policy. Maybe company policy but not gonna violate FAA policy. Knowing that dishonest play just made, I wouldn't even rent there later.

    Do you recall ever reading some sort of no refunds policy?
     
  34. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach

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    Interesting it says block time and packages can only be purchased via cash or check. "Packages are subject to limitations on refunds"
     
  35. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

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    Convenient.

    Amazing how many "flight schools" are either incompetent in the ways of business and customer service, or outright crooked.
     
  36. mtuomi

    mtuomi En-Route

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    Not true, it must be disputed within a set time limit, usually 60-90 days.
     
  37. mtuomi

    mtuomi En-Route

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    This makes sense to be honest - otherwise you'd have people buying "blocks" with a discount and then disputing the charge after using only a fraction of the block.

    Sometimes it is a scam, that's for sure. But often it is just a good business practice.
     
  38. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

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    Then it should be put in escrow.
     
  39. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

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    I think that's only for errors / fraud in billings.
     
  40. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    Better yet, ask him to send you a letter referencing the regulation. Once you got it in writing, it feels like you have a case for some kind of damages. You have an agreement with them and they are making up fake government regulations to try to force you away from their competition.

    But realistically, you shouldn't have two instructors, it's confusing for them and for you on what you need to be taught. Just go with the guys you like and come back after your ticket and fly off the money.

    Never prepay again.