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Old 5th Dec 2018, 21:22
  #160 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: LT
Posts: 1
Many things that are going down at BAA are basically ripped straight out of the Soviet playbooks: misinformation, keeping people in the dark, exerting psychological pressure and a clear lack of anything that could somehow be construed as a "customer friendly mentality" (oh, wait, no, the people shelling out tens of thousands of euros to attend a private flight school are not "customers" apparently...).
Mix all of this goodness with a fresh dose of newly imported capitalist greed and you've got one hell of a combination.

I could write an entire book about all the things there that it defies the apparent fact that this is a training organization operating under an EASA license. Clearly someone, somewhere, made a terrible mistake or ten.
Of course, many of their transgressions can surely be forgiven. Clearly they would pass any and all audits that might be conducted in the future.
The barely competent ground school instructors, some of whom speak English at a level that is far removed from even ICAO 4 and mostly play YouTube videos because "this subject is quite complicated"? Forgiven.
Making up nonsensical rules about "conduct at school" and exerting psychological pressure on the student body wherever possible? Forgiven.
Cutting corners to the absolute maximum extent possible ("Oh, you will have to pay for those epaulettes!"), singling out malcontents and trying to milk the current flood of students as much as possible before that house of cards they have created for themselves inevitably collapses? Forgiven?

Things are bad, there is no sugar-coating it. The idea to move operations to Lleida over the winter was so poorly thought through that it is hard to imagine what kind of process they must have followed as far as decision-making is concerned.

Fact is: winter weather in Lleida is terrible. The current maintenance solution is untenable. Operational conduct and planning are okay at the best of times and disastrous at the worst. The fog is all-encompassing and barely any flying will happen.

Add to that the fact that it is not a nice place to stay. Pretty much no one speaks English, few people are willing to rent to foreigners and especially not on short notice.

It goes without saying that training there is a major expense for many students with no help whatsoever provided by BAA. Let's not forget that all current students signed contracts for training in Lithuania. Nowhere does it mention having to move countries again. For many, this has been a giant hassle after having brought all of their ducks in a row in Lithuania, particularly for non-Europeans (think of residency, permits, etc.).

The biggest joke was that, though rumors had existed that a move to Spain was in the cards, concrete information was withheld for AS LONG AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. Why did they do this? What did they stand to gain from leaving people in the dark and preventing them from preparing a move to the other end of Europe? We shall never know.

Competent instructors have been leaving in droves. No wonder, they are just as shafted as the student body, if not worse. BAA provides little support to them, in addition to simply appalling working conditions and laughable remuneration. Their efforts to replace these instructors will do nothing but attract the dregs of the industry. Surely another point in favour of training quality and flight safety.

It seems that every step of the way the decisions they make only serve to shoot themselves in the foot with additional bullets. When profits skyrocketed due to influx of students, it would have been prudent to increase instructor remuneration to a level that resembles a living wage. It would have been prudent to invest in additional FNPTs in Vilnius, not simulators in Vietnam. It would have been most prudent to invest in more, desperately needed aircraft (and potentially aircraft that are actually suitable for dual seat training operations and not constantly bordering on or exceeding MTOW).

And, finally, it would have been prudent to select a base for winter operations after doing PROPER RESEARCH into the operating conditions there (it's also nice that aircraft currently cannot be maintained on site but have to be ferried to SABADELL) and not to select a base where the fog is famous enough to warrant status as a literal tourist attraction, though in all honesty, a winter base may not even have been necessary, if proper amounts of aircraft were available in Kaunas and training was scheduled in a more sensible manner in the first place...as such, the Lleida "expedition" resembles the era of imperialism leading up to WW1: it is BAA's "Place in the Sun" - or rather "Place in the Fog".

Let's not get into the, really quite irrelevant, topic of maintenance and safety, shall we? After all, this is clearly not a safety-critical industry...been there, done that. We even have our very own crash, news coverage and all. Isn't that lovely?

I wish that one day one of the higher-ups will blow the whistle on this whole outfit and release an autobiography laying out this charade in full detail. It could serve as study material for everyone from economists to social scientists - and sadly as cautionary tale for the entire aviation industry.

All this is just scratching the tip of an absolutely immense underwater iceberg of lies and incompetence. If you've not already pledged your soul and parent's savings to this band of merry fools, I advise you to stay as far away as possible. Though, do visit Lithuania if you get the chance, it truly is a magical place when you're not spending it at Dariaus ir Gireno gatvé.
disgruntledcat22 is offline