Retraction of article published in January 2021

GoFly10 Jan, 2020

In January 2021, I published an article titled ‘My SOAR point with VET Student Loans for Flight Training’. I hereby retract that article, in particular, my comments concerning Mr Neel Khokhani.

 

Comments

8 Responses to “Retraction of article published in January 2021”

January 10, 2021 at 9:03 pm, Matt Venus said:

There are no shortcuts. Play the long game.

January 12, 2021 at 8:08 am, Simon Perkins said:

Hi Damian,
I completely agree with your approach on self funding. There is time to self fund and without that level of commitment the person is unlikely to take on the challenges to come.

Thanks for putting in the time to publish this.

January 12, 2021 at 9:48 am, Thor said:

Hi Damian, some good points made there. I think aptitude testing would go a long way to weed out those not suited though. I don’t think that one’s ability to self fund is a good marker of commitment. There are plenty of 19/20 year olds out there who have parents with plenty of money who would pay.
I completed my CPL last year through VET-FEE and tipped in some of my own money for endorsements on top. I work a job that is ‘ok’ and I can afford to pay off the loan. Lucky me! That said it would have been a struggle to self fund. Academically I’m capable, and have shown that I can pass a CPL flight test. I’ve recently passed my IREX too however, my bug bear now is how to fund MECIR??? Why shouldn’t I be able to access a school through VET-FEE to complete the flying portion?
It’s an interesting discussion to have going forward regarding flight training.
I think the elephant in the room is those folk who peddled the lie of the pilot shortage. I know plenty of pilots. I know very few multi-engine jet pilots though……

January 12, 2021 at 11:32 am, Ian Mooney said:

Thor, I think your current situation is exactly what Damian is suggesting. You start out self funding to an RPC/RPL type level and pass the theory tests. Then the door opens for you to access VET type funds to complete Next levels of training. A gated process where you need to pass 1 before more funds are released for the next.

January 12, 2021 at 12:16 pm, Thor said:

Absolutely Ian, that would be a great solution, still using VET-FEE though. I self funded small portions of my flight training but the bulk was as above. The expectation though that the majority be self funded isn’t realistic for everyone.

January 12, 2021 at 2:59 pm, Marshall said:

As someone who has come through the system as a VET-FEE help assisted pilot. I think you’re spot on with your suggestions.

When I finished school and was waiting to get citizenship for the government funding, I spent some of my own money getting a few hours; I got up to circuits before I was accepted into the course and was forced to start from scratch.

I think my skills would be so much more enhanced if I were required to complete the theory components up to an including CPL, and then truely began the flying journey with a broader understanding, and deeper appreciation.

I think back now how much I wish I had a portion of the $160,000 debt I have and how if I were more efficient at the beginning, using the remainder enhancing the more technical flights as IFR and Multi engine flying.
There is no way I could afford to try keep MEIR current now.

January 13, 2021 at 10:07 am, GoFly Student said:

Thanks for your response Marshall. You make a very good point with the CPL courses including a Multi engine instrument rating that most likely will not be used until you gain 1000 hours plus experience in single engine aircraft. By the time you will need it you will be required to complete almost half the instrument rating again to get current. Best to do your instrument rating once you have gained some valuable single engine experience and are likely to get a multi engine job.
Damien

March 31, 2022 at 12:45 pm, Alan Hogden said:

I wish I read that article before it was retracted. After seeing this retraction post I looked into the character in question and was very surprised at what I found.

Kicking off a flying training school at the age of 22 with just $5K and then in 6 short years or so having a personal wealth of $66Mil!!!

I thought this dude would have been a genius to achieve that and having 45 planes and 100 employees in such a short period of time.

He himself attributing the success of the school by opening the career up to more diverse candidates and using LSAs instead of GA aircraft.

Except that wasn’t the real reason. Dodgy practices, slack procedures and blatantly ripping off students would be closer to the truth. Whether through intention or incompetence remains the question.

I mean, how can a student have a debt of $77K and still not have his pilot’s licence at the end of that? Either he’s completely incompetent or there’s something else that was going on 😛

Students weren’t receiving the training they paid for citing they were clocking up well over one hundred flight hours, and yet making very little practical progress, lucky to achieve their RPC. How is that even possible?

Hmmm, to gain $66 million in personal wealth in just 6 or 7 years after starting with only $5K… I wonder!? 😛

The aircraft they were using for commercial training weren’t even fit for that purpose either.

Add to that the death of an instructor and his student in one of their training aircraft. And another student nearly killing himself because he helped himself to an aircraft to do his first solo in which he thought he was authorised to carry out.

It’s such an incredible notion that a student can just go and take a plane out when he felt like it, and not even following procedure in doing so. Never mind the fact that it was in an aircraft he had only flown once having no idea how to fly it properly, and seemingly having no idea how to fly in a crosswind. Fortunately for him he survived to tell the tale. Not fortunate for the flying school though, revealing more about their incompetence being as such 😛

It’s even possible that this flying school was operating while insolvent, which of course is illegal. That has yet to be determined though. After what I’ve discovered about them it wouldn’t surprise me in the least 😛

This story seems like an old fable coming true once again. Just like the dot com boom and bust a couple of decades ago, so many companies growing so fast by adding more infrastructure, staff and assets beyond the revenue the business is earning, all on borrowed money.

How many times have we seen this on Air Crash Investigation too, growing too fast to maintain proper standards and introducing dodgy practices to keep themselves afloat. It usually takes the death of several people before it is discovered just how badly these companies have been operating.

I suppose the moral of this story is to know who you’re getting involved with before you start your flying training.

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