Flight school at Ormond Beach airport closes, loses license

Last Updated: Thursday, August 01, 2013, 10:16 AM EDT

A flight school in Volusia County has closed after the European Aviation Safety Agency suspended and then revoked its license.

The Euro American School of Aviation trained European pilots in Central Florida.

Now, officials at Ormond Beach Municipal Airport, where the flight school was based, said they're wondering if other flight schools around the state will be affected by the more stringent regulation recently rolled out by the European flight agency.

In a memo dated July 19 and published on the flight school's website Wednesday, July 31, President Adrian Thompson wrote that the school will not take any new students but will try to finish the flight programs for those currently enrolled.

In the letter, Thompson said the agency is "hell bent" on closing down overseas operations to drive up costs for private and commercial licenses. "You've been warned," he wrote in a comment directed at other aviation schools.

Meantime, Thompson said the school is appealing the "unlawful and arbitrary action" by the agency, which is similar to the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States.

Michael Justiniano, who recently came from Norway to get a pilot's license, told our partners at the Daytona Beach News-Journal that he didn't learn the school had closed until he arrived in Ormond Beach.

"We should have been told this before we applied for visas and the cost of tickets and the school," he said, noting he spent about $4,000 coming to Florida and then flying back home.

Ormond Beach airport Manager Steve Lichliter said the school was having difficulty complying with the agency's new guidelines. He suspects other flight schools across Florida are having similar experiences.

"I imagine they're all dealing with this problem," Lichliter said.

Nick Mayhew, the general manager at Bristow Academy in Titusville, told the News-Herald officials are working hard to meet the agency's standards.

"Some of it has been a bit demanding," Mayhew said.

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Full memo: Euro American School of Aviation Closing

"After over 20 successful years providing the best value in flying training to tens of thousands of satisfied customers, Euro American School of Aviation, (EASA), formerly Ormond Beach Aviation, effective at the close of business on 26 July 2013 will cease trading.

This is because the European Aviation Safety Agency (the Agency) suspended our JAA Approval Certificate, a decision which EASA promptly appealed but even though the appeal has not even been adjudicated, the Agency has now revoked the JAA Approval Certificate.

This action taken by the 'Agency' in our opinion defies any acceptable legal process and is akin to executing a person convicted of murder whilst their appeal against that conviction is still pending.

EASA will use their very best efforts to complete all current customers flying programs but with immediate effect we are ceasing to accept any new business.

All customers will be refunded any amounts due under contract in accordance with the terms and conditions applicable with these being processed as soon as practical given the current circumstances.

EASA will vigorously defend its position under law during the appeal process and fully expects to prevail against, we submit, the unlawful and arbitrary action of the 'Agency' in suspending and revoking out Approval Certificate.

To all our past and current customers and our competitors, (in the USA), we wish you all the very best for the future, but in our opinion and speaking from our experiences, the world of flying training has been irrevocably and significantly changed by the European Aviation Safety Agency taking control of aviation in Europe and will never be the same again.

The 'Agency' is, we understand, 'hell bent' on closing as many FTO's/ATO's as possible especially those that are outside the geographic boundaries of the EU. This will have the inevitable effect of reducing choice and driving up the costs of learning to fly both for private and commercial licences. We expect that there will be many of the current schools who will be targeted by the 'Agency' in the next round of the inspection process, i.e. full compliance with part-ORA by April 2014.

You have all been warned. The European Aviation Safety Agency has a target of 100% flight safety.

We all know how to achieve this, stop all flying!

Regards,

Adrian Thompson
President & Chief Executive Officer

Euro American School of Aviation, Inc."

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