The largest civilian helicopter school in the U.S. abruptly ceased operations on February 3 amidst allegations by students and former employees of skewed ethics, mismanagement, misrepresentation and possible criminal activities.
Silver State Helicopters
When Silver State Helicopters salesman “John Smith” (not his real name) was laid off in mid-November from his job recruiting student helicopter pilots, he figured that the now-bankrupt company was cutting expenses in an attempt to make the financials look better for an initial public stock offering. Silver State owner Jerry Airola had often discussed an IPO, according to Smith, and it seemed that it might be a possibility.
Robinson Helicopter dealers who attended yesterday’s press conference said they are ready to place orders for the turbine-powered R66 currently under development at the Torrance, Calif. company’s headquarters.
As more students come forward to say they believe they were swindled by the country’s biggest civil helicopter flight school, attorney general offices in several states are looking into the activities surrounding the bankruptcy of Silver State Helicopters.
Several state attorneys general are looking into the activities surrounding the bankruptcy of Silver State Helicopters and its founder, Jerry Airola. Silver State, the largest civilian helicopter school in the U.S., closed its doors on February 3 and filed Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy the following day. The school employed 750 people and had 2,500 students and 250 helicopters at 33 locations in 14 states.
Eurocopter AS 350-B2, Meadview, Ariz., Aug.
Bell 206L-1 LongRanger, Peach Springs, Ariz., May 2, 2005–The NTSB was unable to determine the reason for the loss of power that caused the LongRanger to crash during a long-line sling load operation. The helicopter was carrying fuel cans in a net from a landing strip on the rim of the Grand Canyon to the canyon floor to refuel tour boats on the Colorado River.
EUROCOPTER EC 120B, JONESBORO, GA., JAN. 24, 2004–At 4:50 p.m. Eurocopter N125MG hit the ground during a practice autorotation at the Hampton/Clayton County/Tara Airport (4A7) near Jonesboro. The VFR instructional flight was operated under Part 91 and no flight plan was filed for the local flight.
While small piston helicopters continue to dominate the initial training scene with their relatively simple designs and low cost of operation, pilots seeking recurrent or advanced training in larger and more expensive turbine helicopters are more likely than ever to be flying a simulator instead of the real thing, according to industry experts.
Bell 206L-1 LongRanger, Galliano, La., March 13, 2005–Parked on a platform in the Gulf of Mexico for approximately 10 minutes with the main rotor rpm at ground idle, the commercial pilot had his head down making an entry on the flight manifest. He had a sensation that the helicopter was “rocking backwards” and grabbed both controls in an effort to “level” the helicopter. He lifted up on the collective and pushed forward on the cyclic.