Did Sierra close?

PhotoPilot

New Member
I heard a rumor today that Sierra Academy closed. Can anyone confirm or deny that? They're just a stone's throw away from us here in Fresno and I've bumped into a bunch of Skywest FOs who used to instruct there.

Sure would be a shame . . .
 

PhotoPilot

New Member
Sounds like a tough spot. Here's to a big round of well wishes and support to all students and instructors involved. We're pulling for you!
 

flyguy

Well-Known Member
Somehow I knew people were going to freak out and spread rumors about Sierra shutting down.
 

SierraPilot

New Member
Well I had a meeting with the Chief Pilot today, and as most Sierra Students, expressed concerns about the short notice, etc.. and he denied that Sierra was having any financial problems and that this was just the best time to do the remodeling and move the maintence building to a new hanger. He also very understanding of my concerns and answered all my questions, while I dont know how much of this I actually believe.. I do feel sorry for the instructors who rely on students flying to pay their rent and now are screwed.

As for me, I have requested a disbursement from my account to continue flying with my instructor at another airport. The question is will they honor these request or just deny them all. I was told by accounting that currently their is 22 request for these disbursements from students, and they will be deciding on them shortly.

Ryan
 

PhotoPilot

New Member
For the record, the reason I started this thread was because I didn't WANT to spread rumors. I took what I had heard and presented it in a place where I knew that people would have correct information.

I didn't title the post"Sierra closed!" but "Did Sierra Close?"
It was a question, not a statement.

I hope that all works out and no instructors starve (anymore than they usually do, at least) during the holiday season.

Best to all,

PhotoPilot
 

jdflight

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
As for me, I have requested a disbursement from my account to continue flying with my instructor at another airport. The question is will they honor these request or just deny them all. I was told by accounting that currently their is 22 request for these disbursements from students, and they will be deciding on them shortly

[/ QUOTE ]

If there is no financial difficulty, then a disbursement should be no decision. By closing for a month, they make money off of your payment in the form of interest or investments they in turn place that money into. The loan company also makes money off you because interest still accrues on your loan. In turn, you are losing money by sitting around waiting. This is particularly true for those who've made payments with credit cards or personal checks. Might be a tougher issue with government loans, but still. I hope you get a nice disbursement so that you can continue to fly. If - and we all hope this doesn't happen - they end up going bankrupt, your money is gone. We all watched ATA in horror. We don't want it to happen to you. I'm not trying to be argumentative. Perhaps they're on the up and up. What I know is that two of my roommates instructed at Oakland and Livermore and both know firsthand just how much the income from that business floated the Oakland campus. Like I said before, we all hope that what they're saying is the truth. We're just all very skeptical and don't want fellow aviators and jc'ers getting screwed.
 

hammer

New Member
This has strong parallels to what happened to us at ATA. Sierra is shutting down for a month over the holidays, everyone is of course going to bail back "home" to visit family now that they have time time off, and in the meantime, the management will have plenty of time to discuss the future of the Academy without student intrusion. Not operating for a month is beneficial to the school as it will reduce their expenses by a huge amount. ATA did the same BS ... started with not flying on weekends while the runway at ORL was repaved (we never did fly on weekends again) followed by shutting down for a full week for the NBAA convention to "reduce stress on the airport" and then finally the doors shut for good. All the while, of course, reassuring the students that things were fine financially and the school was going forward with expansion and remodeling. I don't know much about this school but remember as students, you are customers and you are entitled to answers. In the words of Ed Rooney, do not trust these guys any farther than you can throw them. Did students pre-pay their tuition here?
 

montana

New Member
can you file a lien against a flight school on one of their planes if they do not give you your money back? I know lawyers do this when companies refuse to pay on lawsuit settlements. Just wondering.
 

SierraPilot

New Member
Yes hammer, most every student I know has loans through Key Bank or a combination of Government Loans and Key Bank.. and Sierra gets those disbursements up front and collects interests on them I'm sure while we are in school... speaking of govt loans.. While people outside of Sierra are probably not aware of this.. when we sold the A&P program and buildings, as I was told we did not meet the govt criteria for a accrediated school and Sierra Academy lost its govt accrediation aka no more govt loans for us pilots. My point? well its interesting that this all happened around the same time.. its just one of those things that make you go Hmmmm.

Either way, I dont really trust the Chief Pilot and his explanations for the most part. When I had talked to the Chief pilot aka director of education he said it would take 30 days to get the money normally and at min 2 weeks, however when I talked to accounting I told her what the Chief Pilot said and she told us it was not the chief pilots decision and that she was the one who cuts the checks and we could possibably get the money as soon as friday, but it will still have to be approved..

My problem I have with this whole thing is the abruptness of it. Had it been a simple remodeling why not give us notice or time to prepare? Now had it been a forced closure that would make more sense.. but who knows.. for now I'll reserve judgement until I find out if they are willing to let us continue training outside Sierra.

Ryan
 

SFLAX

Well-Known Member
They do not have to give you the loan money, but if it is private money they have to. Go upstairs to Patty, she is awsome, I assure you that she is not one of them and ask her to suspend all account activity in your loan and have her send all the money back to the loan company. This will at least keep interest from building and you can then reapply at either another school or when Sierra reopens. I am confident it will reopen, but for how long after that I do not know. This is a good thing many of the pissed off CFI's will be gone and better people will get hard earned jobs. I for one am waiting it out and flying with a Sierra CFI some where else, and then will see on Jan. 5
 

SierraPilot

New Member
Well all my loans are Private loans through Key Bank... and dont get me wrong I would love to go up with my CFI and continue my training.. I just dont have extra money floating around.. in fact I rely on living disbursements to pay my bills and put food on the table. In order to continue flying with my CFI, it would require Sierra to give me a disbursement to do so. The question is WILL THEY... after all Patty is REALLY nice but the reality is that she does not make those decisions alone.. while she might have a say it.. she still needs to get those kinda decisions approved by management.

Ryan
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
Man...I sure wouldn't advise anyone to go to a school where they have total control of YOUR money. After all, it's your loan and you are responsible for it.

Do all the big academies work this way???
 

SierraPilot

New Member
From my understanding and the research I did at the major academies like Sierra, FSI, DCA, Pan Am, ATP.. the only one I know of that gives you the money is FSI. I would assume by that... that this is a standard practice. At a couple of the smaller flight schools I checked with, they told me they would give the tution to the school and any remaining money you asked for.. aka living money, would go directly to you, however the down side was they do not have a "True" deferrement meaning you can defer the principal but NOT the interest.

Ryan
 

ERJ-135

New Member
You need to contact Key Bank ASAP and find out what you should/can do. It is your money and Sierra is holding all of it. You should demand a full refund. I don't think Key has a policy with this school that says Sierra can only give out a small amount per month. When you took out the loan, you signed for the total amount and it was sent to Sierra, full amount, for distribution. The interest is ticking and costing you money whether Sierra holds it or you do. You probably signed a contract and it will have wording on refunds. A good attorney will and should go after Sierra for the full refund becauce they (Sierra) has probably broken their part of the contract. It is not an act of God, war, etc., that caused them to close down for construction. It was well within Sierra's control to make the decision to suspend training.

I think that Key Bank has prior experience after the ATA closing and it is in their best business interest to install a policy that only portions of the loan are sent to the school and student as needed, not the full amount. I'm afraid that the student's money is spent on new construction and long gone.
 

hammer

New Member
Yeah, I'm sure Key will be ready to do anything possible. Allow me to share with you a line from a letter we all received from Key right after ATA closed:

"Please understand that you are still responsible for the current debt you have incurred."

They aren't going to do squat for you.
 

JDMcFly

New Member
"From my understanding and the research I did at the major academies like Sierra, FSI, DCA, Pan Am, ATP.. the only one I know of that gives you the money is FSI. I would assume by that... "

I'd check again, I think I'd heard otherwise.
 

SierraPilot

New Member
Well I just got off the phone with Key Bank and was told that the school is given the money to control how that money is spent and is only to be used for that school, and if Sierra has a agreement with us to use these funds for outside training or living disbursements then thats between us and the school and any agreements we have with the school.

As for schools that give you the money upfront.. I asked students from all those schools if they received the money directly or not and what if any money they received.. and I can tell you the only students who told me they received ALL their money upfront was FSI.. now if one of those students want to correct.. please do so.. but this has been my experience with the students I have encountered and talked to here on JC.

Ryan
 

flyguy

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
For the record, the reason I started this thread was because I didn't WANT to spread rumors. I took what I had heard and presented it in a place where I knew that people would have correct information.

I didn't title the post"Sierra closed!" but "Did Sierra Close?"
It was a question, not a statement.


[/ QUOTE ]
PhotoPilot,

I apologize if you misread the tone of my statement. I was not suggesting you were spreading rumors but commenting on the fact that there are rumors being spread. Evidence of this beign that you heard one. Sorry if it seemd as if I was accusing you, that was not my intention.
 
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