Dundee-based Tayside Aviation appointed receivers on 20 April with the loss of 22 jobs, and leaving customers in limbo. Customers and student pilots have been reacting with dismay on social media. Many appear to have paid large deposits up front for training they will not now receive. Wings Alliance, the not-for-profit support community for modular pilots, and Bristol Groundschool are offering support to Tayside customers.
Founded in 1968, Tayside has been a mainstay of flight training in the Northeast for more than 50 years. It operated courses from PPL to full ATPL including degree-courses in association with the University of Central Lancashire and was the sole provider of training for Royal Air Force flying scholarships for more than 30 years.
Alex Whittingham, the chairman of Wings Alliance, says “It is shocking, one poor chap posted on Facebook looking to find other people starting with him on a ground school course at Tayside in May only to find the company had gone into receivership. He had paid £5,650 in advance”.
Bristol Groundschool is offering to complete the ATPL theory training for any Tayside students free-of-charge, leaving them only UK CAA exam fees to pay. For Tayside customers part way through flying courses he says: “We will not be able to recover any flying course fees paid to Tayside in advance, but the Wings Alliance will help Tayside pilots find new flight schools and can also, at the customer’s option, monitor the progress of their flight training and make sure that training records etc. are properly kept”. Wings Alliance registration and services are free of charge. Pilots can register at Wings Alliance’s website.
Alex Whittingham and Wings Alliance both warn against the practice of paying large amounts to flight schools up front. Alex says: “Some flight schools will take the best part of £100,000 off you before you have even seen an aircraft. This is totally unnecessary; first the price is wrong, you can complete your licence on the modular route for just over half that, and secondly you should not need to keep more than a few thousand pounds in credit. The risk of a flight school going bust is real. If it happened to an integrated flight school, no-one could help you, you would have lost everything.”
For any affected students please email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of the Wings Alliance Training Advisors will be in contact with you.