Trainee pilots lose thousands after flight school enters administration

Tayside Aviation's demise could end many students' dreams of becoming pilots.

Students of a collapsed Dundee flying school say they’re still in shock, more than a week after Tayside Aviation fell into administration.

Many trainee pilots have been left tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket.

With no indication when or if they’ll get their money back, there are concerns the company’s demise may end students’ dreams of becoming pilots.

“It’s such a large sum of money to just sort of almost disappear, out of nowhere,” said Fiona, who only found out her course had come to an end via the media.

“I was in class. I was just sat learning as usual, with my fellow students.

“And then to come home and find out we weren’t to go back the next day, it was just shock.

“That’s the only word I can use to describe it really.”

Zac Chiswell has set up an online support group for students impacted by Tayside Aviation’s collapse.

He and fellow student Fiona are collectively more than £80,000 out of pocket.

 Zac Chiswell has set up an online support group for fellow student pilots

“Without the money to be able to do it, I don’t see how I’m going to be able to achieve becoming a pilot,” said Zac.

“I don’t think any of us have ever been through something where we’ve lost this amount of money.

“It’s like losing a relative to your family.

“It’s such a big part of everyone who went to Tayside Aviation’s life, the flight school.

“[For it] to go is really disappointing.”

Zac, 23, has been inundated with concerns from his peers, including one who told him he handed over more than £9,000 in fees, two days before the company collapsed.

“The management team at Tayside would have been aware that this was impending, this was coming,” he added.

“Therefore it’s disappointing they’d take that amount money off a student, just hours before the collapse.”

Tayside Aviation, seen as one of Scotland’s top flying schools, delivered training for more than half a century.

A “significant liability for prepaid flying courses” was blamed for its collapse.

Public documents show floating charges, which provide security to creditors in the event a company goes under, were set up by owner Tony Banks in the weeks before Tayside Aviation went into administration.

Administrators say they will seek to “support students as far as they can with the recovery of training and other records.”

STV News has approached Tony Banks for comment.

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