Account was settled on day of leaving,
then noticed money debited from my credit card (UNAUTHORISED), on my next credit card statment 3 weeks after getting home, after many phone calls and e-mails, EFT admitted they were wrong to debit my card as i had not flown the said hours, ( I have e-mail saved stating so).
This was 4 months ago and after further E-mails can still not get rebate, so this has left a sour taste, but this aside i still had a lot of problems with EFT.
I did my CPL/ME-IR there in 2001 and found that the place was very much a mixed bag. The individual instructors were nice people who gave very good training and the overall quality of the training was good. The briefings were comprehensive and the instructors often gave extra gen/tuition without expecting to be paid. The aircraft were not that great, especially when seen alongside the PanAm fleet of new Pipers and some of them were quite ratty. Tech problems were quite common(the mechs did not do nights, except in extremis) and it was common for one particular aircraft, the least troublesome, to be kept aside for flight tests. In saying that, the aircraft flew night and day and were hard-worked. The Aviator's students flew the same aircraft. The Aviator ad in the flying magazines is a work of fiction, by the way...the radars and heaters never,ever worked and there were only ever five Be76s.
What EFT don't tell you before you get there is that they have an arrangement whereby they piggyback on the Aviator School for aircraft, maintenance, admin, cars, housing,etc. They own very little themselves and are therefore, utterly dependent on the host school. The school itself is not very big and can get quite full at times. There was no quiet area for decent study. There were few training aids, certainly not even a basic Frasca sim, which was a great loss for IFR students.
The JAA examiners were only in attendance for one weekend a month, which placed a great deal of pressure on the students in terms of time and money, unlike the Aviator, who had access to an FAA examiner every day.
The rental cars were a bunch of elderly wrecks that were, basically, a rip-off.$100pw per car for worthless junk that we were not allowed to use to leave guys back to the airport(Orlando) in case they broke down and had to be towed home.What a miserly attitude to show to someone who has just spent many thousands in the school. A huge profit margin for the Aviator just on very dodgy cars alone.In addition, some of the Aviator people were very,very surly individuals,indeed. At the time, the presence of European students was the only thing keeping Aviator afloat.
We stayed in a gated apartment community(2 or 3 bods to a place) about 15 mins drive from the airfield, near Ft. Pierce City. The rental cost is about twice what the normal residents paid, because they were all on annual contracts. Aviator rented the units for the annual rate and then charged you a "monthly" rate, which worked out at about double.Another little "earner", driving your costs up. They had you by the balls because there was no bus service available and the housing available nearer the 'field was situated in a very undesirable area.Another beaut was being charged a 3% surcharge on using one's credit card, if it was a card originating outside the USA, which, of course, it would be.One always had to be very watchful of one's account, to avoid mistakes. TJ was always pretty good at keeping things squared away, but the other doll wasn't so good and far less pleasant to deal with.
If I had had the funds, I would probably have gone to Oxford, but I hadn't so EFT had to do, bearing in mind that,at the time, they were one of only three schools approved by the IAA in the USA
If you know anyone who has property in the area, beg,borrow or steal it from them.If you want to get back to the airport from Vero Beach, go into each of the car rental outfits until you find one who needs to have a car returned to the airport. I got to return a bloody big jeep to Orlando free of charge.Apart from that,consider buying a local car and selling it to the next bunch of stoodents.
The flying is about the best part of the whole thing. Good IFR workouts, a well-equipped airfield(ILS and at least three local/nearby NDBs and loads of VORs and airways to fool around in.All in all, it wwasn't half as good as it claimed to be.
The only thing is that they moved the housing, Its quite nice now, in Vero beach. still the same old cars, earning them a fortune...
Myself and Andy had to rent a car on the first night to sleep in as we had nowhere to sleep.... in the end we rented a room off one of the aviator instructors as all the housing was full!! It worked out well as we ended up in a nice apt.
Im also still waiting for over $800 from them that they assured me would be sent on to me in the form of a cheque!!
But i have to say, i liked flying in and out of ft pierce, the instructors were great, (well most of them). But the Admin side of EFT really needs some looking at!! It took me two weeks extra and double the promised cost to achieve my PPL. I would Defo think twice before going back, and If I dont get my money thats owed soon, ill be taking some sort of action!!
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