FAA Requires Certain Pilot Reexaminations

AINsafety » July 30, 2012
July 30, 2012, 4:35 PM

Pilots who received certificates from a certain designated pilot examiner (DPE) in Nevada may need to be reexamined. The FAA released Notice 8900.194 on July 13 to provide guidance to administration inspectors who may need to reexamine pilots whose certificates were approved by Edward Lane of Las Vegas.

The notice evolved from an investigation that found “reason to believe that the competency of the airmen examined by DPE Lane from the period of September 2009 to October 2011 … is in doubt.”

The notice also said, because of evidence gathered during the investigation, the FAA has determined that these airmen will require reexamination of their competency (pursuant with 49 U.S.C. paragraph 44709) to ensure safety in air commerce. The FAA said any affected airmen refusing to surrender their current certificates for cancellation or downgrading after receiving a “44709 notification letter” will find themselves the recipients of enforcement actions.

The Agency did not release details in the seven-page notice as to what specifically led to the decision about DPE Lane. This FAA action is the second in three months in which a DPE’s check rides have been questioned.

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No Avatar
James
on July 31, 2012 - 10:19am

The only people that are consistently detrimental to aviation safety is the FAA and their group of clowns within the organization. Too bad that there isn't a requirement that an employee within the FAA has some real aviation experience in the real world.

No Avatar
Roger
on August 14, 2012 - 6:46pm

These FAA "clowns" you mentioned most likely are saving lives in this incident. Unless you know the whole story, or even part (which I do) you have nothing to back up your claim. The examiner in question is a joke and a fraud to aviation.

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jim
on September 5, 2012 - 12:47pm

Ill back up the last poster as I also know the whole story, really simple you have money you give it to "fast eddie" he may fail you, but will tell you to come back with more money then you just got better and pass. It was a guaranteed method for many flight schools to pass foreign students.

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Not cool
on September 24, 2012 - 6:46pm

I worked my ass off and spent a fortune getting those ratings and now to be told they're not valid is wrong, I don't like lawyers, but now I'm glad to have one.

The cost involved for me will be atleast $1000 which I don't have....

Typical government, Too little.......too late.

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Mark Hess
on September 24, 2012 - 10:02pm

I'm one of those impacted by this ruling. While I'm aware of the of the reputations of some of the accelerated programs across the country, here's my take --from a 'by the book airmen' wanting to earnestly do it all correctly.

I put in the time for my written exam and practical preps. Though I did attend an accelerated program, my time commitment exceeded what I did for other ratings at local FBOs - - and, by a considerable margin.

I attended the accelerated program due to my scheduling...I have major professional commitments and I'm a single parent...nonetheless, I subscribe by the 'buyer beware admonition from all of our fathers'.

So, I rolled the dice on the accelerated program and I'm out the school and examiner fee...and, in hindsight, I can now say 'listen to those voices that are cautioning you against the paper mill schools out there'. Life lesson learned for sure.

But, what I object to: the FAA has given me 15 days to respond and line up a re-check. Heck, I may not even be able to find a practical airplane in 15 days, let alone study it, be prepared, and proficient in it up to PTS standards. I didn't prepare for the original practical in 15 days - - why would I be expected to prepare for a re-take in 15 days?

I also noted, via the internet, that the original action taken against the DPE was in early July, 2012. Yet, I was formally notified in writing on September 24, 2012. (letter dated, 9/10/12)

I'm not an FAA basher. They oversee my flying duties and I respect that. But, I do think, a little more flexibility and reasonableness would be appreciated. Afterall, the action was taken against the DPE....not me.

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Karl
on September 25, 2012 - 1:08am

I think the FAA messed up big time. The letter doesn't say they have proof that Eddie did anything wrong. They call me a risk to air safety as a qualified airman and they state my certificate is no longer valid.

I attended several FAA Safety seminars where Eddie was the speaker and I received WINGS credit. I gave Eddie several hundred dollars for my check ride and represented he himself as a designee of the FAA.

When I spoke to the AOPA, they told me they knew of atleast 600 people that are in question. Eddie performed atleast 5-10 checkrides a week, this is gonna become a class action law suit for sure and will be a huge story.

The amount of money that it will cost people to retrain and study for a check ride and then find an airplane for the exam will be a great expense and not everyone has the money to afford this.

The fact remains that the FAA failed to oversee their appointed examiner and now they want to set an example by punishing the innocent pilots.

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Michelle
on September 25, 2012 - 1:12am

Ok, so the second poster claims the examiner was joke and a fraud to aviation, then why did the FAA allow him to represent them to the general public? Get real!

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Mike
on September 25, 2012 - 2:12pm

Well said!!

I know there are some FAA inspectors that are a fraud to aviation! We have maintenance inspectors with no A&P. We have airline POIs that flew helicopters. That is just what I’ve experienced with the Friends Against Aviation (FAA).

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Michelle
on September 25, 2012 - 1:20am

Ok, so the second poster claims the examiner was joke and a fraud to aviation, then why did the FAA allow him to represent them to the general public? Get real!

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Steve Wilkins
on September 26, 2012 - 4:33am

Anyone else affected by this? What can we do?

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David D.
on September 26, 2012 - 11:07am

There's not much you can do at the moment. The scale of which how many people are effected is huge. Eddie was a professional DPE, he was doing around 5-10 checkrides a week, that's alot of people!

When I called AOPA, they said they knew of atleast 800 people affected by this. The only way something is gonna get done is if everyone effected comes together and files a class action law suit.

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Andy
on September 26, 2012 - 12:50pm

I am one of the several hundred that was given a checkride by Eddie Lane. I attended an accelerated flight school in Bullhead city and didn't feel that I received a below standard checkride, however I do feel that someone should be held responsible for the large amount f money that we all paid for what we thought was competent flight training. I don't know about you all but I cannot retest in 15 days, get a multi-engine airplane, and pass, that's just not possible. As a few of you stated, I also have a full time job and do not have the money to accomplish this. It's not fair to us that we just have to eat the money we spent on this.

No Avatar
Tom
on September 26, 2012 - 3:47pm

Well, this reminds me of when Silver State helicopters went under, the students who lost all their money started a website to come together and form a class action law suit against them.

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cory
on September 27, 2012 - 12:19am

I just received my letter today stating that I have 10 days to contact and 30 days to to take a re-check before my certificate becomes invalid. I no longer live in the Las Vegas area and no longer have access to an airplane that I can take the re-check in, or a means to pay for one if I do... I am very upset that I am being told to take another check-ride and to provide a plane! Since earning my rating two years ago I have left work and gone back to school, my only source of money right now is my student loans and I don't think I'm allowed to use them for this purpose at all! I rightfully earned my rating and this is a very disappointing situation. I'm not even sure how to proceed at this time...

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Mike
on September 28, 2012 - 2:20pm

I took my check ride from Eddie, and feel I earned my ticket. The piratical test was done to PTS and I performed accordingly. If given time to study for the oral I'm sure I could pass again.

I have been told that a 709 re-check ride looks bad in your logbook. I don't need that and feel it is unfair for me to have to do it.

Mike from VGT

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Larry
on September 28, 2012 - 8:37pm

Ok, this 709 checkride thing is BS, we need to give the FAA time to respond to all of this. How the hell are they gonna even find the time to redo all these checkriders? They don't have the man power and when I called the number on the letter, the guy's voicemail said he was out of town for a week! I know out of all the people that were effected by this, someone must have money and will pay the money it takes to fight this thing. It might even be worth contacting the media and your local congressmen?

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Julian
on October 1, 2012 - 12:15pm

Yes I am also affected by thee ruling..... But I expect for the FAA to be an honorable and reputable giverment institution..... But if this is taken a little furhter how and who can we trust.... Lets assume you get an additional rating to make your ratings valid (as per FAA) to keep your current ratings..... Then for whatever reason the Gods in OKC decide that the examiner was incompetent.... Your ratings could become null and void once again.... Or you go to your trusted FAA mdical examiner, you pass your physical but latter the Gods in all their wisdon decide that the medical examiner was incompetent.... Now you have to take another medical exam, pay the money and hope that you don't lose pay while you became indirectly suspended by the FAA....
We put our trust and our certification and flying future on the hands of the FAA.... If we screw up.... they are promptly there to ensure we have met their strict standards....
So why? WHY? was Mr. Lane sanctioned by the FAA and allowed to give checks for over two years if he was not, in the eyes of the Feds, Qualified!!!!! Hoever, been true to their cause the Feds make the victims pay the penalty for their incompetence and we the victims have to take the recheck while the FAA claim zero, none, an ouce of resposibility...
The fact that most of us will have to take more of our time and pay more money to right an FAA's wrong has no bearing on the situation.... If we can not trust the regulators, who can we trust.... So class action ...... WHERE DO I SIGN!

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Julian
on October 1, 2012 - 12:17pm

I just finished with the FAA rep... I'm was upset

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James
on October 2, 2012 - 10:36am

Everyone that was affected needs to write their Congressman and demand action in addressing this issue. Requiring everyone to retake their checkrides is just plain wrong considering the fact that the FAA allowed this individual to administer all of the rides. The FAA is the organization that should be held accountable for not maintaining oversight of one of their designees. Let the FAA foot the bill for their incompetance. Regardless if "fast Eddie" is a joke or fraud to aviation, the FAA is ultimately responsible as they are the ones that allowed this individual to continue to operate. Start holding them accountable as well.

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Jame Gumm
on October 5, 2012 - 12:26pm

Eddy Lane has put a huge black cloud on aviation, and had done a horrible dis-service to all who has given him money.... I cant believe the FAA is finally doing something about him and his students!! None of which should be anywhere near an airplane!!! Hopefully this will save lives, and wake up certain egypation and Asian airlines as to what kind of people they have in the cockpits! They may be nice folks, but there is a reason people went to Eddy, because there is no possible way they could have passed with normal examiners.... If you are a good Pilot, and know your stuff, you should have nothing to worry about!

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I'M PIIISSSSTT!!!!
on November 29, 2012 - 3:11pm

Unfortunately I have fallen as another victim of their great "Accelerated Flight School SCAM!!!! Not only should the man in question be held accountable but the flight school business SHEBLE'S AVIATION be held accountable as well!! I have NEVER in my 23 yrs. experience in aviation witnessed such INCOMPETENCY that I have recently witnessed @ SHEBLE"S! The worst so-called instructor I have ever met/received so-called instruction from. I wish I would have known about all this B.S. before going there & WASTING my $$$!! The only solution is to shut them down & by the sounds of this I cant believe the FAA has not done so as of yet!!

STAY AWAY FROM SHEBLE'S AVIATION IN BULLHEAD CITY, AZ. IF YOU KNOW WHATS GOOD FOR YOU!!

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Roger Roger
on November 29, 2012 - 3:28pm

Actually I have just received word that the FAA has SHUT DOWN SHEBLES! I heard that they pulled JO JO's DPE license!! So hopefully this is a good sign for some of this B.S. getting resolved!!

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rumors
on December 9, 2012 - 6:18pm

I really think that we have a right to know what happened. Any time there is an accident the NTSB releases some form of explanation for what occurred. We all learn from this "evaluation" right?
So where are we getting an education here? Are they (feds) going to tell us what they found and why?
a) For those who took a ride with him and are now pissed - you walked away easy and hushed it all the way home happy with your tickets - and now you want to say something? lol your as guilty as your own claim. Why didn't you call the FAA and say something then?
b) For those of you who judge and don't know the story... don't spread rumors. It doesn't help us in our aviation family.

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don't even ask
on December 10, 2012 - 12:00pm

Ok, some people are mixing stuff here, the flight school and the DPE are two different things. You pay the flight school for your training and then you pay the DPE for the checkride.
At the time those checkrides were taken, DPE Lane was NOT working for Sheble and he used to take checkrides from several schools.
The fact that the DPE got suspended or got his license revoked has nothing to do with the training you got and paid for. Don't mix things up!
After he got suspended/revoked and was without a job, he got a job at Sheble which was one of the schools that used to send him students to be tested.

Blaming the training at one of the schools that sent him students for this situation is plain stupid. If you don't like Sheble Aviation you are free to express your thoughts, but relate Sheble to this issue is just dumb.

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fresh out of sheble
on December 12, 2012 - 10:39am

Having just finished up training at Sheble for my instrument rating, I felt compelled to add something to this string of rumors and misinformation. For one thing, I was fortunate enough to work with four different instructors during my time there. This not only allowed me to get to know them, but also to receive different points of view, and different ways of thinking about the course material. The instructors at Sheble were excellent, the best I have seen in my admittedly short aviation career. They were knowledgable, demanding, and most importantly, EXCITED about working there, and teaching their students. I took my checkride with Joe Sr., who is a BLESSING to the aviation community. I think some stiff necks from the FAA could use a little time B.S.ing around the shop with that man. I guarantee you they would learn a thing or two about real world aviation, if he would have them. After the training I received at Sheble, I felt prepared to take a checkride with any examiner they threw at me. Thankfully, it was Joe Sr., and it was BY THE BOOK. I think it is completely unfair for the FAA to give examiners their blessing to give checkrides, then revoke that permission, and take away all the ratings/licenses issued!!! How about some responsibility on their end?! If these examiners were so bad, how did the FAA approve them in the first place? Ridiculous!!! The FAA are the ones at fault here people, think about it!

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Dave
on December 12, 2012 - 11:28pm

I've had 3 rides at Shebles - 2 w/Eddie and one with Jo-Jo. I'm no examiner, but they were real rides - we discussed the requirements then I did them. I got good instruction, honest check rides and good value. I also had a lot of fun, enjoyed being there, liked everyone I met and left with a lot of respect for what the Shebles have built. I wish Eddie and the Shebles the best because they are good people that are good at what they do and they deserve fair, transparent treatment by the government.

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Ana
on July 12, 2013 - 5:24pm

What's the latest news on this flight school Sheble Aviation? A close friend of mine just went there for his CFI course and got ripped off enormously. The school was totally unorganised and they did not deliver what they promised, and my friend was not even able to do his final check ride! While all the instructors were very positive about his achievements and he was going to get all the endorsements. He needed to come back fro Europe a second time an month later with the promises that this time he should be able to do his exam and AGAIN everything failed. They especially blamed the FAA for not doing a proper job in scheduling. A normal, adult conversation about what was happening was denied by the owners/ management of Sheble. But all the money had been paid and is now gone.
Are there more victims of this flight school known and does anybody know how to file an official complaint and were best to do this?

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Jim Ratcliff
on August 8, 2013 - 1:36pm

After over 48 years in Aviation I am always suprized at the ignorance of my fellow aviation folks. The number one error most of us make is not learning the system in which we operate.

When I started it was very hard to be informed because it was all in paper and one had to find out where and how to get it. Now it is all on line, one need only educate themselves about how it all is put together. Unfortunatley even the educators don't have a clue.

To get started learning: at the United States Code (USC). It contains all of the laws that have been passed. The actually legislation is a hodge podge of amendments to all kinds of things, so we have 50 allocated 1 USC through 50 USC in which to place them by subject so folks can find the latest part of the law. Transportation is in 49 USC. The Adminstrative Procedures act (circa 1933 or so) allows and controls agencie (Federal Bureaus, like the FAA, FDA and so on to pass regulations (Adminstrative Law). the Federal Register Act (5 USC it seems) is where all of the governments buisness is published every business day. All of your new and proposed FAA rules are published there. Don't have to wait for Jepp to find out. The Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs) is where all of this is found. Guess what? There are 50 CFRs as well. 49 CFR is Transportation. Aviation was not put in there because it was so unweildly because of size, so FAA stuff is in 14 CFR. Look in the www.archives.gov website and find Federal Aviation to see what is there.

I viewed most of the thread above me, lots of wrong stuff said there. Why, because no one teaches us. I would like to be specific about the Examiner thing, but that requries me to write about 14 CFR 183, the AC for it, the FAA order 8900, 49 USC and on and on. But take it from me, if you will find every law, regulation, order and AC dealing with this you can teach yourself. Shooting from the hip looks cool in the movie "ElDorado" but in real life you will be a foolish mess.

Jim

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mrmalak
on November 16, 2013 - 3:24am

Hello, I know this is a little late but because of the nature of my experiance I thought it would be a good idea to share it. I recently visited the school that Mr. Lane was still a manager at. I can say with out a doubt that as of the end of October 2013 this school was still enguaging in activity that is improper. I won't get in to details because of documented threats that I have recieved from former staff of the school but the FAA did the right thing. I didn't even have the chance to finish my training and take a check ride. So to everyone that lost money on the fee, I feel for you but I can say I lost about 6 times that ammount on unused services.

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mrmalak
on November 18, 2013 - 12:26am

I can't express how disapointed I am in Sheble Aviation

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moralesjosh
on May 10, 2014 - 3:38am

Review - Sheble Instrument Training Course (or 10 Days in a Crazy House)

My wife and I signed up for Sheble’s 10-11 day instrument training course in early March for the purpose of acquiring our ratings in mid-April 2014. Our work schedules kept us on a hard departure date so our initial communications with Sheble addressed the need to checkride by a certain day. We were assured on schedule completion would not be a problem.

What follows is a day by day breakdown of our appallingly negative experience at Sheble Aviation. If you’re into quick and dirty here it is:

·         An instructor that falls asleep on cross-country flights as readily as on a traffic filled approach at the North Las Vegas Airport

·         Another instructor that took my wife on a 4.9 hour night cross-country in a C-172 with a published fuel endurance of 4.75 hours

·         A ‘school’ with 6 instrument students, 2 CFII, 1.5 airplanes (two planes with one lacking the requisite equipment for instrument training) and a complete absence of organization

·         An owner whose rare presence was highlighted by drinking Coors Light while having his mechanic install an engine in his race car while one of the 1.5 airplanes was down.

If you’re interested in the whole experience please read on.

We arrived in Needles the night before the course began. The accommodations at America’s Best Value Inn were suitable and for the Sheble rate of $36/night, very tolerable.

The first day consisted of signing the requisite paperwork, paying for the course and ground school. Ground school was fairly well-organized and provided a great deal of information backed up by the training packet provided on the Sheble website. What we were not provided was a syllabus or overall plan for the course. I’ll come back to this fact repeatedly as the theme of our experience was absence of organization.

I should mention at this point if you’re expecting a typical classroom, don’t. The airport has been taken over by Sheble Aviation and most of the buildings (trailers) on site belong to the school. The main building is a pre-fab home with a front desk, a simulator (more on that later) room, kitchen and a couple empty bedrooms. The ground school was held in an aged trailer adjacent to the main building and required the students gather up a mish-mash of tables and chairs. Also littered about the airport are numerous cannibalized airplanes some of which, I was told, are in the boneyard from being landed gear up. Oops.

My day two was spent studying in the office studying followed by 1.5 hours of flight training. The initial instrument flight was challenging and I was spent after bouncing around in the desert heat chasing a needle and trying to read an approach plate.

Day three and four were spent on the simulator and studying the provided materials. I also grabbed an Oral Exam Prep guide off the shelf and began studying it as well. As there were two CFII for 5-6 students, I ended up teaching myself how to use the sim and flew on my own the first couple approaches. Day four I received more formal/supervised training. It should also be said that the “state of the art ATC-710 simulator” may have been state of the art in 1999 but certainly isn’t so in this millennia. It was awkwardly slow to get set up and froze up a few times. One instructor explained the software hadn’t been upgraded in quite a while.

At this point we were four days in and I had 1.5 flight hours and 4 sim hours (my wife was doing no better). We were both concerned about achieving the 40 hours stated the course would provide. Repeatedly throughout the course we had to ask what was planned for the following day. Several times through response came as “what do you want to do?” Not exactly a confidence inspiring reply. Increasing our concern was a disturbing scheduling event. A private student’s checkride had been planned for a nearby local airport and he’d been prepping for that location. A week before the checkride the examiner informed the scheduler the ride would be out of North Las Vegas instead of the planned airport. Rather than inform the student when she was told, the scheduler waited until the night before his checkride. Thankfully he passed but it was totally unnecessary for him to be unprepared.

The morning of the 5th day we had a serious conversation with our instructor about making hours and when and where our checkride would be scheduled. He insisted we’d make hours and that he would be transparent about our checkride scheduling situation. We came to find that our checkrides had been scheduled for two days after our planned departure.

The evening of the 5th day, to ensure she was caught up on hours, the other CFII offered to take my wife for an evening flight. He did the flight planning while we grabbed dinner. They took off at 1900 and returned from the planned 3.15 hour flight at midnight. That’s five hours (4.9 on the Hobbs). They did not get fuel along the way. The Sheble provided C-172 data has a flight endurance of 4.75 hours. The instructor exceeded the legal flight time of the plane by 0.65 hours, the actual amount of usable fuel by 0.15 hours and far more importantly jeopardized my wife’s life. The kicker was that he had no idea how long they were gone. After review of the flight plan my wife determined the instructor planned the flight at 110kts. Never once during my time there did I see either 172 go above 105mph in level flight.

Then the weird things started to happen. As you may know Sheble Aviation is a family business. There was certainly no division between family and business. The ‘accountant’ (owner’s father-in-law) quit and hauled off his trailer only to show back up a couple days later. The scheduler (owner’s wife) also quit and showed up a couple days later. The scheduler then texted our instructor asking him if he thought my wife and I were swingers. As if we weren’t flattered enough the other CFII texted our instructor asking if we had an open relationship. I’ll be clear in stating that in no way were these advances invited.

By the 6th day we thought we were in an insane asylum but decided to soldier on. Admittedly, we should have ran screaming after the night flight incident but our motivation to complete the rating over powered our common sense. The next day or two passed uneventfully with long flights and conclusion of sim time. During this time our checkrides went from Bullhead City, to McCarren in the wee hours of the morning and finally to North Las Vegas. Unfortunately they could not get us completed on the same day which required I make changes to our departing flights. Something we communicated in the beginning we were nearly inflexible on.

Day 9, with the checkride finally fixed we opted to move from Needles to Vegas saving commute time and this point we’re both feeling woefully unprepared for the pending checkride. That day my wife flew approaches with the instructor at the busy North Las Vegas airport. He could not stay awake. Physically could not stay awake. I needn’t explain that in simulated instrument conditions the instructor is a safety pilot tasked with providing visual traffic input to the under-hood student. I needn’t describe the unnecessary risk this put my wife in. I needn’t expound on the added stress this put on our already bizarre experience. That evening our instructor informed us that he would be returning in the morning with a third instrument student and flying all three of us on my checkride day. At this point I am still 2.5 hours short of being legally able to fly a checkride and 5.2 hours short of the 40 hours Sheble Aviation states they will provide on the course. My cross country is somewhat planned but I’ve not gone over it with the instructor and now I’ve in essence been told there won’t be time to thoroughly review the plan with the instructor.

Finally better judgment got the best of us and we decided there was no way we were prepared for the checkride and were not willing to put another thousand dollars on the line. We informed the instructor of our decision when he arrived in the morning and departed the airport wondering what on earth happened during the preceding 10 days.

As we reflected on the experience it became very clear that Sheble Aviation, at least in its current incarnation, should not be in the business of training pilots, it should not be in the aviation business, it should not even be allowed to look at an airplane.

We have since communicated our experience with the scheduler and asked for a reasonable portion of our tuition to be refunded. She expressed concern about the illegally long flight and the sleepy instructor (a fact that was known by the Sheble scheduler) and the 10.2 hours my wife and I were missing from the stated 40. I was promised a return call that never materialized. In calling back several times I actually reached the elusive ‘Jo-Jo’ Sheble who told me, and I quote, “…I’m not up to speed on this, and nor do I need to be up to speed.” That very clearly says he doesn’t care about his poorly/dangerously/illegally/unethically run business. Up to now, I have not received a follow up call from the outfit.

If you’re considering Sheble Aviation for any kind of flight training consider very seriously your other options. Review - Sheble Instrument Training Course (or 10 Days in a Crazy House)

My wife and I signed up for Sheble’s 10-11 day instrument training course in early March for the purpose of acquiring our ratings in mid-April 2014. Our work schedules kept us on a hard departure date so our initial communications with Sheble addressed the need to checkride by a certain day. We were assured on schedule completion would not be a problem.

What follows is a day by day breakdown of our appallingly negative experience at Sheble Aviation. If you’re into quick and dirty here it is:

·         An instructor that falls asleep on cross-country flights as readily as on a traffic filled approach at the North Las Vegas Airport

·         Another instructor that took my wife on a 4.9 hour night cross-country in a C-172 with a published fuel endurance of 4.75 hours

·         A ‘school’ with 6 instrument students, 2 CFII, 1.5 airplanes (two planes with one lacking the requisite equipment for instrument training) and a complete absence of organization

·         An owner whose rare presence was highlighted by drinking Coors Light while having his mechanic install an engine in his race car while one of the 1.5 airplanes was down.

If you’re interested in the whole experience please read on.

We arrived in Needles the night before the course began. The accommodations at America’s Best Value Inn were suitable and for the Sheble rate of $36/night, very tolerable.

The first day consisted of signing the requisite paperwork, paying for the course and ground school. Ground school was fairly well-organized and provided a great deal of information backed up by the training packet provided on the Sheble website. What we were not provided was a syllabus or overall plan for the course. I’ll come back to this fact repeatedly as the theme of our experience was absence of organization.

I should mention at this point if you’re expecting a typical classroom, don’t. The airport has been taken over by Sheble Aviation and most of the buildings (trailers) on site belong to the school. The main building is a pre-fab home with a front desk, a simulator (more on that later) room, kitchen and a couple empty bedrooms. The ground school was held in an aged trailer adjacent to the main building and required the students gather up a mish-mash of tables and chairs. Also littered about the airport are numerous cannibalized airplanes some of which, I was told, are in the boneyard from being landed gear up. Oops.

My day two was spent studying in the office studying followed by 1.5 hours of flight training. The initial instrument flight was challenging and I was spent after bouncing around in the desert heat chasing a needle and trying to read an approach plate.

Day three and four were spent on the simulator and studying the provided materials. I also grabbed an Oral Exam Prep guide off the shelf and began studying it as well. As there were two CFII for 5-6 students, I ended up teaching myself how to use the sim and flew on my own the first couple approaches. Day four I received more formal/supervised training. It should also be said that the “state of the art ATC-710 simulator” may have been state of the art in 1999 but certainly isn’t so in this millennia. It was awkwardly slow to get set up and froze up a few times. One instructor explained the software hadn’t been upgraded in quite a while.

At this point we were four days in and I had 1.5 flight hours and 4 sim hours (my wife was doing no better). We were both concerned about achieving the 40 hours stated the course would provide. Repeatedly throughout the course we had to ask what was planned for the following day. Several times through response came as “what do you want to do?” Not exactly a confidence inspiring reply. Increasing our concern was a disturbing scheduling event. A private student’s checkride had been planned for a nearby local airport and he’d been prepping for that location. A week before the checkride the examiner informed the scheduler the ride would be out of North Las Vegas instead of the planned airport. Rather than inform the student when she was told, the scheduler waited until the night before his checkride. Thankfully he passed but it was totally unnecessary for him to be unprepared.

The morning of the 5th day we had a serious conversation with our instructor about making hours and when and where our checkride would be scheduled. He insisted we’d make hours and that he would be transparent about our checkride scheduling situation. We came to find that our checkrides had been scheduled for two days after our planned departure.

The evening of the 5th day, to ensure she was caught up on hours, the other CFII offered to take my wife for an evening flight. He did the flight planning while we grabbed dinner. They took off at 1900 and returned from the planned 3.15 hour flight at midnight. That’s five hours (4.9 on the Hobbs). They did not get fuel along the way. The Sheble provided C-172 data has a flight endurance of 4.75 hours. The instructor exceeded the legal flight time of the plane by 0.65 hours, the actual amount of usable fuel by 0.15 hours and far more importantly jeopardized my wife’s life. The kicker was that he had no idea how long they were gone. After review of the flight plan my wife determined the instructor planned the flight at 110kts. Never once during my time there did I see either 172 go above 105mph in level flight.

Then the weird things started to happen. As you may know Sheble Aviation is a family business. There was certainly no division between family and business. The ‘accountant’ (owner’s father-in-law) quit and hauled off his trailer only to show back up a couple days later. The scheduler (owner’s wife) also quit and showed up a couple days later. The scheduler then texted our instructor asking him if he thought my wife and I were swingers. As if we weren’t flattered enough the other CFII texted our instructor asking if we had an open relationship. I’ll be clear in stating that in no way were these advances invited.

By the 6th day we thought we were in an insane asylum but decided to soldier on. Admittedly, we should have ran screaming after the night flight incident but our motivation to complete the rating over powered our common sense. The next day or two passed uneventfully with long flights and conclusion of sim time. During this time our checkrides went from Bullhead City, to McCarren in the wee hours of the morning and finally to North Las Vegas. Unfortunately they could not get us completed on the same day which required I make changes to our departing flights. Something we communicated in the beginning we were nearly inflexible on.

Day 9, with the checkride finally fixed we opted to move from Needles to Vegas saving commute time and this point we’re both feeling woefully unprepared for the pending checkride. That day my wife flew approaches with the instructor at the busy North Las Vegas airport. He could not stay awake. Physically could not stay awake. I needn’t explain that in simulated instrument conditions the instructor is a safety pilot tasked with providing visual traffic input to the under-hood student. I needn’t describe the unnecessary risk this put my wife in. I needn’t expound on the added stress this put on our already bizarre experience. That evening our instructor informed us that he would be returning in the morning with a third instrument student and flying all three of us on my checkride day. At this point I am still 2.5 hours short of being legally able to fly a checkride and 5.2 hours short of the 40 hours Sheble Aviation states they will provide on the course. My cross country is somewhat planned but I’ve not gone over it with the instructor and now I’ve in essence been told there won’t be time to thoroughly review the plan with the instructor.

Finally better judgment got the best of us and we decided there was no way we were prepared for the checkride and were not willing to put another thousand dollars on the line. We informed the instructor of our decision when he arrived in the morning and departed the airport wondering what on earth happened during the preceding 10 days.

As we reflected on the experience it became very clear that Sheble Aviation, at least in its current incarnation, should not be in the business of training pilots, it should not be in the aviation business, it should not even be allowed to look at an airplane.

We have since communicated our experience with the scheduler and asked for a reasonable portion of our tuition to be refunded. She expressed concern about the illegally long flight and the sleepy instructor (a fact that was known by the Sheble scheduler) and the 10.2 hours my wife and I were missing from the stated 40. I was promised a return call that never materialized. In calling back several times I actually reached the elusive ‘Jo-Jo’ Sheble who told me, and I quote, “…I’m not up to speed on this, and nor do I need to be up to speed.” That very clearly says he doesn’t care about his poorly/dangerously/illegally/unethically run business. Up to now, I have not received a follow up call from the outfit.

If you’re considering Sheble Aviation for any kind of flight training consider very seriously your other options. Review - Sheble Instrument Training Course (or 10 Days in a Crazy House)

My wife and I signed up for Sheble’s 10-11 day instrument training course in early March for the purpose of acquiring our ratings in mid-April 2014. Our work schedules kept us on a hard departure date so our initial communications with Sheble addressed the need to checkride by a certain day. We were assured on schedule completion would not be a problem.

What follows is a day by day breakdown of our appallingly negative experience at Sheble Aviation. If you’re into quick and dirty here it is:

·         An instructor that falls asleep on cross-country flights as readily as on a traffic filled approach at the North Las Vegas Airport

·         Another instructor that took my wife on a 4.9 hour night cross-country in a C-172 with a published fuel endurance of 4.75 hours

·         A ‘school’ with 6 instrument students, 2 CFII, 1.5 airplanes (two planes with one lacking the requisite equipment for instrument training) and a complete absence of organization

·         An owner whose rare presence was highlighted by drinking Coors Light while having his mechanic install an engine in his race car while one of the 1.5 airplanes was down.

If you’re interested in the whole experience please read on.

We arrived in Needles the night before the course began. The accommodations at America’s Best Value Inn were suitable and for the Sheble rate of $36/night, very tolerable.

The first day consisted of signing the requisite paperwork, paying for the course and ground school. Ground school was fairly well-organized and provided a great deal of information backed up by the training packet provided on the Sheble website. What we were not provided was a syllabus or overall plan for the course. I’ll come back to this fact repeatedly as the theme of our experience was absence of organization.

I should mention at this point if you’re expecting a typical classroom, don’t. The airport has been taken over by Sheble Aviation and most of the buildings (trailers) on site belong to the school. The main building is a pre-fab home with a front desk, a simulator (more on that later) room, kitchen and a couple empty bedrooms. The ground school was held in an aged trailer adjacent to the main building and required the students gather up a mish-mash of tables and chairs. Also littered about the airport are numerous cannibalized airplanes some of which, I was told, are in the boneyard from being landed gear up. Oops.

My day two was spent studying in the office studying followed by 1.5 hours of flight training. The initial instrument flight was challenging and I was spent after bouncing around in the desert heat chasing a needle and trying to read an approach plate.

Day three and four were spent on the simulator and studying the provided materials. I also grabbed an Oral Exam Prep guide off the shelf and began studying it as well. As there were two CFII for 5-6 students, I ended up teaching myself how to use the sim and flew on my own the first couple approaches. Day four I received more formal/supervised training. It should also be said that the “state of the art ATC-710 simulator” may have been state of the art in 1999 but certainly isn’t so in this millennia. It was awkwardly slow to get set up and froze up a few times. One instructor explained the software hadn’t been upgraded in quite a while.

At this point we were four days in and I had 1.5 flight hours and 4 sim hours (my wife was doing no better). We were both concerned about achieving the 40 hours stated the course would provide. Repeatedly throughout the course we had to ask what was planned for the following day. Several times through response came as “what do you want to do?” Not exactly a confidence inspiring reply. Increasing our concern was a disturbing scheduling event. A private student’s checkride had been planned for a nearby local airport and he’d been prepping for that location. A week before the checkride the examiner informed the scheduler the ride would be out of North Las Vegas instead of the planned airport. Rather than inform the student when she was told, the scheduler waited until the night before his checkride. Thankfully he passed but it was totally unnecessary for him to be unprepared.

The morning of the 5th day we had a serious conversation with our instructor about making hours and when and where our checkride would be scheduled. He insisted we’d make hours and that he would be transparent about our checkride scheduling situation. We came to find that our checkrides had been scheduled for two days after our planned departure.

The evening of the 5th day, to ensure she was caught up on hours, the other CFII offered to take my wife for an evening flight. He did the flight planning while we grabbed dinner. They took off at 1900 and returned from the planned 3.15 hour flight at midnight. That’s five hours (4.9 on the Hobbs). They did not get fuel along the way. The Sheble provided C-172 data has a flight endurance of 4.75 hours. The instructor exceeded the legal flight time of the plane by 0.65 hours, the actual amount of usable fuel by 0.15 hours and far more importantly jeopardized my wife’s life. The kicker was that he had no idea how long they were gone. After review of the flight plan my wife determined the instructor planned the flight at 110kts. Never once during my time there did I see either 172 go above 105mph in level flight.

Then the weird things started to happen. As you may know Sheble Aviation is a family business. There was certainly no division between family and business. The ‘accountant’ (owner’s father-in-law) quit and hauled off his trailer only to show back up a couple days later. The scheduler (owner’s wife) also quit and showed up a couple days later. The scheduler then texted our instructor asking him if he thought my wife and I were swingers. As if we weren’t flattered enough the other CFII texted our instructor asking if we had an open relationship. I’ll be clear in stating that in no way were these advances invited.

By the 6th day we thought we were in an insane asylum but decided to soldier on. Admittedly, we should have ran screaming after the night flight incident but our motivation to complete the rating over powered our common sense. The next day or two passed uneventfully with long flights and conclusion of sim time. During this time our checkrides went from Bullhead City, to McCarren in the wee hours of the morning and finally to North Las Vegas. Unfortunately they could not get us completed on the same day which required I make changes to our departing flights. Something we communicated in the beginning we were nearly inflexible on.

Day 9, with the checkride finally fixed we opted to move from Needles to Vegas saving commute time and this point we’re both feeling woefully unprepared for the pending checkride. That day my wife flew approaches with the instructor at the busy North Las Vegas airport. He could not stay awake. Physically could not stay awake. I needn’t explain that in simulated instrument conditions the instructor is a safety pilot tasked with providing visual traffic input to the under-hood student. I needn’t describe the unnecessary risk this put my wife in. I needn’t expound on the added stress this put on our already bizarre experience. That evening our instructor informed us that he would be returning in the morning with a third instrument student and flying all three of us on my checkride day. At this point I am still 2.5 hours short of being legally able to fly a checkride and 5.2 hours short of the 40 hours Sheble Aviation states they will provide on the course. My cross country is somewhat planned but I’ve not gone over it with the instructor and now I’ve in essence been told there won’t be time to thoroughly review the plan with the instructor.

Finally better judgment got the best of us and we decided there was no way we were prepared for the checkride and were not willing to put another thousand dollars on the line. We informed the instructor of our decision when he arrived in the morning and departed the airport wondering what on earth happened during the preceding 10 days.

As we reflected on the experience it became very clear that Sheble Aviation, at least in its current incarnation, should not be in the business of training pilots, it should not be in the aviation business, it should not even be allowed to look at an airplane.

We have since communicated our experience with the scheduler and asked for a reasonable portion of our tuition to be refunded. She expressed concern about the illegally long flight and the sleepy instructor (a fact that was known by the Sheble scheduler) and the 10.2 hours my wife and I were missing from the stated 40. I was promised a return call that never materialized. In calling back several times I actually reached the elusive ‘Jo-Jo’ Sheble who told me, and I quote, “…I’m not up to speed on this, and nor do I need to be up to speed.” That very clearly says he doesn’t care about his poorly/dangerously/illegally/unethically run business. Up to now, I have not received a follow up call from the outfit.

If you’re considering Sheble Aviation for any kind of flight training consider very seriously your other options. 

No Avatar
mrmalak
on May 10, 2014 - 11:16am

See the message below, I didnt hit the reply link.

No Avatar
mrmalak
on May 10, 2014 - 11:11am

Yep, it sounds pretty much like the same experiance I had. Its just too bad I dont have a way to reach you directly to compare notes.

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