Silver State Leaves Long List Of Creditors

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Hundreds of creditors are named in court documents obtained by AVweb relating to the bankruptcy of Silver State Helicopters. The aggressive Las Vegas-based training company, which had 34 locations, closed them all earlier this week, leaving a trail of unpaid bills. “We were caught flat footed like everybody else,” Robinson Helicopter Vice President Kurt Robinson told AVweb. “They had several helicopters on order. We’re going to scramble and figure out what to do.” Silver State purchased more than 100 Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters from the Torrance, Calif., manufacturer since beginning its flight training operations in 1999. The company closed Sunday afternoon and is blaming external factors for its demise. Company president Jerry Airola did not return phone messages left for him at Silver State’s headquarters on Tuesday. A prepared statement said the action was the result of “a rapid, unprecedented downturn in the U.S. credit markets, which severely curtailed the availability of student loans for the company’s flight academy students and resulted in a sharp and sudden downturn in new student enrollment.” Airola, a former police officer, became known throughout the industry for using aggressive sales tactics to recruit students to the program, including radio ads that aired in major U.S. markets as recently as two weeks ago.