Students in tailspin after helicopter school shuts
Some 60 students taking helicopter flight school at Stewart International Airport in Orange County are wondering if theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll ever see the tens of thousands of dollars in tuition theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve paid to Silver State Helicopters after the company suddenly shut down operations Sunday.
Silver State Helicopters, a privately owned company based in Las Vegas, ceased all operations Sunday evening and yesterday filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, according to a press release posted on the companyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Web site (www.silverstatehelicopter.com).
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This action followed a rapid, unprecedented downturn in the U.S. credit markets,Ã¢â‚¬? the statement read, Ã¢â‚¬Å“which severely curtailed the availability of student loans for the companyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s flight academy students and resulted in a sharp and sudden downturn in new student enrollment.Ã¢â‚¬?
Calls placed to the companyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Nevada headquarters this afternoon went unanswered.
The Journal News reported Silver StateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s decision to open a flight school at Stewart in July.
Speaking at the time, company founder, president and chief executive Jerry Airola said tuition, which included 200 hours of flight time and 300 hours of classroom and simulator time, was about $70,000.
Airola also said his company had more than 2,600 students enrolled in 34 flight-training academies in 15 states, from Florida to Oregon.
One student whose wondering what will become of the tuition is Jesse Arvidson of Haverstraw, who today was anticipating further word from Silver State about what may become of the tuition he paid.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Our class has now been in contact with the local FBI, district attorney, and consumer affairs office to see what our options are,Ã¢â‚¬? Arvidson wrote in an e-mail.
He and thousands of others students are awaiting word from the company, which is expected to release further information for students and the media this evening.