New Brunswick

Sussex man 'in limbo' after flight school's problems

A 22-year-old Sussex man is struggling to figure out how to get his money's worth out of the $65,000 he spent on flight school.

Moncton Flight College went into receivership in 2011

A former student of the Moncton Flight College says he is in limbo as he tries to finish his diploma. (Moncton Flight College)

A 22-year-old Sussex man is struggling to figure out how to get his money's worth out of the $65,000 he spent on flight school.

When the Moncton Flight College went into receivership in February 2011, some of the school’s students did not have enough flight time to get their diplomas.

Mike Armitage is still 40 hours short and on the hook for thousands of dollars more if he wants to get his commercial pilot's licence.

Armitage, who said he knew he wanted to be a pilot since he was 10 years old, was close to achieving that dream when his flight school was grounded due to financial problems a year ago.

"I was beside myself. They laid it out pretty cut and dry that I was an unsecured creditor and, with the bankruptcy, secured creditors get their money," he said.

"And if there's any money, you may get some. But that was not the case for me."

Armitage said he was done his classroom work but he still needs to wrap up his flight times and tests.

The Moncton Flight College was taken over by CANLink Aviation. The new owner kept the school open, but planes weren't always available for bookings.

Armitage said he had to take a minimum wage job to pay bills.

When he tried to book a plane to help complete his remaining flight hours, Armitage said he was told he would have to pay about $20,000 more in tuition. But the school would give him a 10 per cent discount, he said.

"I mean, I'm in limbo here now, just making ends meet, trying to make the minimum payments on my loans," he said.

"If things go the way it is, I'm going to be paying off those loans for the next 30-some years, working a minimum wage job."

Carey Taylor, a spokesperson for CANLink, said the company "covered the lost pre-paid tuition of any active and/or full time students".

Carey Taylor said that was more than 200 students at the time.

And he said the vast majority were "satisfied with and appreciated the generosity of the new owners".