I read the following sober message today about the now-defunct Langa Air. Langa Air was the only Cessna Pilot Center in the St. Louis, MO area. It made me think back to all the times I spoke with them.
"To Students and Customers:
"As you know, we are all in an economic crisis. Having been in the business of aviation for over 20 years, we have seen "hard times" when we had to lay off employees, cut wages, and reduce expenses. We have seen times with increased fuel costs, increasing insurance rates, and even an extended period following 9/11 when we were unable to train for nearly one month due to the closure of airspace. Despite those hard times, we always found a way to survive and pull through. But, we are in unparalleled times.
"The owner of Langa Air, Inc. has gone to great lengths to survive this unprecedented crisis. He has sacrificed his income, financial health and retirement to infuse Langa Air, Inc. with cash to sustain operations. Some employees even agreed to a wage reduction recently to ensure all of those who do business with Langa Air, Inc. would continue to do so. Despite these efforts, the economy, together with the inability to secure operating loans, Langa Air, Inc. has no alternatives remaining.
"It is with profound sadness that we are closing the doors to Langa Air, Inc. and terminating business effective September 1, 2009. Unfortunately, there will be no remaining employees, including flight instructors, mechanics, and flight line personnel, to provide support for use of training aircraft. As a result, you will not be able to presently train with Langa Air.
"Langa will make available the training records to any and all students within 30 days unless the Bankruptcy court directs otherwise. Please check the web site www.langaair.com periodically for updates.
"Please keep in your thoughts and prayers the good employees of Langa Air, Inc. and their families."