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Nelson Aviation College Review - NAC

Old 13th Apr 2021, 05:29
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: na
Posts: 1
Nelson Aviation College Review - NAC

An insight into Nelson Aviation College a "premier flight training organization" in New Zealand.


I am a former student of NAC and would like to share my experience with them, both good and bad. I want this to be an honest review as all other reviews online are only how amazing and great the institute is - here I will shed some light.

I joined in 2018 straight out of high school to complete a Diploma in Aviation. With only a few (15-20) hours, I was 'sold" the Airline Integration Course, something that sounds exciting but is really just the business model of the school with no actual help of getting into an airline, this is just a selling point for them. If you decide to change your strand, don't expect to have a straight answer, the school will purposely beat around the bush and ignore your requests or even come up with low balled excuses as to why they can not do this. Their aim is to get as much money out of you as possible.

The Good:
-Great location to fly in with mountains and sea 5 minutes either side of the Motueka base. Weather patterns generally give great weather with light to moderate winds and little cloud. The main base is in uncontrolled airspace giving you lots of freedom and breathing room to learn the fundamentals.
-Aircraft - 3 new C172 G1000 models which are great to learn in and transition from a C152 model into a glass cockpit environment.
-Safety - have good safety standards, sometimes a little much (will explain later) but overall you will feel confident with your flying and exercise well within your limits and aircraft are generally kept up to spec.
-Freedom to choose your own cross-countries and where you want to go, weather permitting.
-The ground courses are in-depth and provides to a great range of learners.

The Not so Good:
-You are a customer, not a student - but be expected to be treated like you're still in high school with little respect and to be spoken down to. The school has a notorious reputation for misleading students when it comes to fees and hours. I was quoted 60hrs for my PPL, with some hours already under my belt I was told in the interview that I would most certainly only need 40 hours on top of my current hours to gain a PPL. My entire intake was mislead and were forced to keep flying until put in a "check mate" position (certain requirements that needed time but in order to achieve these you would go over your allocated 60hrs), most students came out with a PPL around the 70-75hr mark, which equates to around $4000 extra. The given time-frame to complete the PPL was missed by 2 months due to "weather", although weather was suitable for flying the instructors would not send students up when the conditions just slightly unfavourable. For every solo flight you do, you must receive a "sign-out" from an instructor to check over the flight however, instructors were often found avoiding doing these sign-outs or simply saying no because they couldn't be bothered spending 5-10mins with a student to check their flight. Many (not all) instructors tend to talk down to you and treat you with no respect or dignity, swearing or raising their voice at you which does not constitute a healthy learning environment.

-Communication issues. This is a big one, all staff at the school (especially higher management) have serious communication issues. Whether it is what room your class is in to when you are flying - very simple and easy things which are often missed at the students expense. Countless times have I had flights cancelled on me with no communication or reasoning behind it causing me to have wasted a huge amount of time while studying there. Higher management forces you to stay on campus from 8:30am to around 4pm due to "NZQA attendance requirements", which is complete bs. Many of my intake were found leaving early or missing days with no consequence whatsoever. Find yourself sitting around doing nothing for most of your time there, it is a common sight. Instructors will often tell you one thing and you'll be told something different from another instructor moments later, leading to confusion and unclear advice, again a communication issue.

Bullying - A major one at NAC. The General Operations Manager has a terrible reputation for this. He will call you names, talk down to you, shout and bully you when you don't abide by his strict demeanor. Students are afraid to talk to him and many issues in the school go unseen because of this. Even with issues presented to him, he is quick to dismiss them and retaliate leaving the schools "just culture" to be a negligible idea. Instructors are also guilty of this. The CFI acts in the same manner, speaking down to students, raising his voice or shrugging them off when they need help, he always seemed "too busy" when anything was needed. There seems to be no logical or practical thinking behind some of the schools "ways", only to punish you if you don't do them the way they want. There are never any questions or thinking as to "why" they may do something, just shut up and do as you're told.

Accommodation - Avoid the onsite accommodation. Incredibly overpriced and low-quality. The rooms are okay size with incredibly thin walls, expect to hear all your neighbours breath. Food is provided but only 5 days a week and only dinner, the food was often found to be almost inedible and quite disgusting - this may of improved by now. Broken appliances, dirty living spaces with constant talking down to from management to "behave".

Maintenance - The planes were generally kept in good condition however every plane had something wrong with it. It may be something little but it still impacted the flight one way or another. From broken instruments to lights to controls, everything had something wrong. The school would make students fly the planes to maintenance at another airport and bill the students for the flight they had done as a favour. All other commercial ops have to ferry their own planes, the school billing students for it is just ridiculous and rude. Never once had the school thanked me or other students for doing their dirty work.

Plane Availability/Equipment - Expect to take your training into your own hands, do not let the school try organize your study plans, because chances are it will be chopped and changed countless times with you left in the dark yet still expected to attend campus with nothing to do. The school operates "on time performance" where even if you are late to your flight because the instructor messed around on the ground, it will be cancelled. When getting a night rating, the school would put responsibility on you to organize the aircraft to be ferried in between bases, a task which should be the schools responsibility - yet you will be bullied if you do not do it. The simulators used for instrument flying more often than not were broken, with instructors not willing to fix them because they couldn't be bothered or didn't know how - at the students expense. I found the instrument course to be a complete shambles, no real context behind learning with no focus on important topics yet huge focus on irrelevant things with inadequate resources.

Airline Integration Course - The business model of the school. I payed around $10,000 for this "course" which is just Air New Zealand representatives glorifying its company and dictatorship of how they are the best airline in the world. I could compare it to a reeducation camp, 4 weeks of listening to that rubbish and playing in a 737 sim to which you can not log the hours but hey, it's fun right?

Just shut up and stay in line.

My advice:
Go to another school like Southern Wings, avoid Ardmore or Massey too. If you can afford it, train with your local aeroclub - they are generally much more fun and practical with their learning. If you do decide to go to NAC, do NOT go for the AIC course, no matter what all the bs they tell you about how it will get you a job - it won't anymore than the other strands will. Go for the GA or Instructors strand - you will be much better off. Do not live on-site, find a homestay and meet people in your class you would be willing to flat. Take charge of your training. It is your money and your career. Do your research and push for something you want, you will receive backlash but just keep pushing if you want to get it done.

Best of luck with your future career, can't say how glad I am to be out.
mybam is offline  
Old 19th Apr 2021, 02:24
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: NA
Posts: 2
Similar Experience

Same intake year...

What a show those "18 months" were.... Not being able to fly due to the wind being in the wrong direction half the time as there is a crane in the "Way" even though it was so far off the centre line that I forgot it was even there sometimes, so many excuses as to why we can't fly today and to push the whole plan back a stupid amount of time.
If I was to go back in time I would not be going to the college, Private training all the way! The best thing about NAC was the Students 100%, met some amazing people there, Just a shame the management and culture outweighed the positives...

Hope everybody in the 2018 intake's is doing well in their careers and I'm sure we are all glad to be out
_Sanic_ is offline  
Old 23rd Apr 2021, 18:07
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: Wellington
Posts: 1
Needed to be said

Iím really pleased that someone from the intake before mine has had the balls to stand up and say something that needed to be said about Nelson Aviation College.

Itís a huge investment and itís so heartening to see that the experience that I and so many others in my intake shared is so common.

ĎTake charge of your training. It is your money and your career. Do your research and push for something you want, you will receive backlash but just keep pushing if you want to get it done.í

Outstanding work, thank you for doing it. Itís so critical that someone puts some honesty into the situation where every other review you read talks it up, while still being reasonable about the good aspects (of which there are many).

Would love to chat with whoever this is

- Bailey

Last edited by Auchinvole; 25th Apr 2021 at 07:30.
Auchinvole is offline  

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