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Prohibited lone flying for beginners?


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GG is quite right about one thing. Having any form of certificate makes no difference to how well you fly. 

 

However, most clubs have some sort of required minimum standard for flying on your own. Often the BMFA A cert is used for this purpose as its simple and nationally recognised, but some clubs have their own solo certificate or nod from the powers that be. 

 

My old club had a setup where students who had not passed their A/club solo (we had two options) but were safe to fly were allowed to fly solo with one model with a view to them practicing for their test. It worked very well. The purpose of the supervisor (assuming an off buddy box pre solo/A cert pilot is being watched) is to get a feeling for the students overall proficiency. That way, if we have seen them fly well for a while but they fluff their landing on test day we can give them the benefit of the doubt and still give them a pass. If they look out of their depth then we can go back to buddy box tuition. 

 

Ultimately its a safety issue as you dont want new pilots who cant fly turning up and flying as and when they please. They may crash into something or someone or they may fly out of bounds/over roads or whatever. These could all cause problems for the club and may even loose them the site.  

 

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We used to allow beginners to fly alone although we advised against it when we had a lot more space and  the world wasn't as mad  . We now have to enforce make it a strict club rule  that no beginners fly without an instructor present  and fly on a buddy system due  mainly to having a solar farm behind our site .  All Flying has to be away from the solar farm site and until a beginner is competent at flying safely and keep the model in front of him , they must remain on a buddy lead with a club instructor . Even new members who have any BMFA certificates have to take a field test to satisfy us that they are in control of their model . Its amazing over the years how many so called "Competent " pilots have trouble keeping their model in front of them !

Our standard for new pilots to fly solo is virtually an "A" cert standard  . We do try to get members to go on and take an achievement scheme  "A" then a "B" but uptake is low ?  It appears that the mention of "TEST" changes a competent new , or even seasoned pilot into quivering jelly ?

 

There are a few if any clubs in this part of the country who now allow beginners to fly unaccompanied due to creeping development and fear of loosing their site.

Edited by Engine Doctor
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1 hour ago, David Hall 9 said:

Does your club have a rule which prohibits beginners/learners (anyone without an "A" certificate or equivalent) flying alone or without an A/B cert holder being present/supervising?  

 

If so, what is the role of the cert holder? 

 

We don't require a mandatory A-cert to fly solo (few of our members hold them as we only recently affiliated to the BMFA, and I have seen plenty of people with ancient As and Bs over the years who were not that great tbh), but we do have a policy around newcomers and solo flight. Every new member is required to do a check flight (inc. pre and post flight checks) in front of either a committee member or instructor before being allowed to fly without direct supervision; we don't ask them to fly an A-test schedule, but the standard of flying is expected to be of a similar standard. On completion they then answer a few questions (some from the A-test list, some about local rules).

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17 minutes ago, Engine Doctor said:

There are a few if any clubs in this part of the country who now allow beginners to fly unaccompanied due to creeping development and fear of loosing their site.

 

Agreed, and it would be particularly difficult to operate under Article 16 without putting a policy in place. I do worry that it will only take one significant incident at a club operating under the Article 16 Auth for it to be quickly removed; threads like this don't fill me with confidence there...

Edited by MattyB
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For beginners it's no solo till the relevant man signs your club card, rules/regs get covered in that period, we get partial pass outs these days, some of the foamy types allow us to pass members out on them to gain stick time and a degree of independence, whilst being agreed they'll continue under supervision on such as I.C Boomerangs etc. Get passed out and it's put on club forums and all know, working well for us at present.

 

Posts made on here ? Well my eyes roll at some of the stuff posted, but free speech eh.

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we dont encourage  members to fly alone  , due to the risks on their safety! Twice I have had to take somebody to the local hospital due to fingers in props.  ( sprained ankles, lost car keys , there arequite a few reasons why flying alone should not be encouraged

 

But it is good to be by yourself when practising for advanced certs and comps  . 

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If the Government had chosen to make having an A cert to fly solo the way to control pilots instead of the stupid online test and sticking registration numbers on planes we would have had a better way to control unsafe or intrusive drones!   Plus mandatory insurance of course.

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In my club in France we keep beginners on the buddy box until the instructor thinks that they can manage by themselves. Then he stands beside the beginner to proffer advice and to grab the transmitter if necessary. When several beginners are ready to take their A Certificate we contact the two nearest clubs and set up a day when everybody can take their A Certificates, the "Brevet A" in French. In France, a club member's competence must be judged by a suitably qualified person from another club. Pilots wanting to take other qualifications like the equivalent B Certificate or a licence to fly heavy models are catered for on the same day.

 

When I took my B Certificate it was nearly lunchtime. The hours between 12.00 and 14.00 being sacrosanct in France. I was only part way through the schedule when the assessor said, "Ok, we've seen enough David, you can land now!"

 

Wouldn't happen in Blighty of course.

 

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The club I belong to does not allow any powered flying without a second person being on site, only bungee launched gliders solo.

 

Main reason is that we have a bridal way down one side of the field and a farm track at right angle to that.

These are used by tractors, members of the public, quad / motocross bikes and horses, so the second person is for safety / spotting reasons.

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6 hours ago, kc said:

If the Government had chosen to make having an A cert to fly solo the way to control pilots instead of the stupid online test and sticking registration numbers on planes we would have had a better way to control unsafe or intrusive drones!   Plus mandatory insurance of course.

Seriously?! How on earth would our government manage to police and enforce something so obviously unworkable?

 

You may dream of a sledgehammer/nut situation, but the present system is the least worst we could have and the BMFA and other organisations have done an excellent job ensuring that we aren't subject to ludicrously restrictive legislation. 

Edited by Martin Harris - Moderator
Removed political reference (contravenes C of C)
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I think that most clubs adopt the common sense approach. Anyone joining our club, will be closely watched for an initial period. This is regardless of any achievement certificates they may hold. These certificates were never designed to be a licence to fly. Someone may have passed an A cert many years ago and since then developed a few bad habits which need sorting out, let's face it how many people do you know who have passed a driving test and in your opinion shouldn't be on the road. When it comes to beginners in our club they would never fly alone until we are satisfied that they are safe to do so.

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I must admit that my own flying has improved greatly since I retired to rural France. At my club it's considered a matter of honour for any experienced pilot to land on the 10 metre-wide tarmac runway rather than on the mown grass to the side unless he is flying a glider. Novices may land on the grass without derogatory comment!

Runway Lourdouiex St Pierre MAC.JPG

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Back to lone flyers, we had two new members, lockdown messed up them getting trained on their I.C models and instructors not being there when they're not working, frustrating time, but both stuck by our club rule. Don't know how it came about but one bought a Riot the other a Tundra Cub, weather played ball and we got both passed out pretty quickly, no corners cut, they earned their pass outs, this pass out was restricted to these models only, they can now get stick time and have some independence.

Lad who bought the Tundra got passed out I.C last week, Tundra and the effort he made worked wonders, lad with the Riot is a session away from his pass out, would have got it yesterday, but had undercarriage issues.

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  • 1 month later...

No rule around certification, but we do ask for a competency flight from new members before allowing them to fly alone. 

Having a certificate is a bit meaningless if the certificate was obtained 20 years ago and the person hasn't flown since, likewise there are plenty of very very good pilots who haven't got any certificates whatsoever. So I would far rather witness someone flying than take somebody else's word for their competence. 

So no rules about certificates, just show you can fly and behave sensibly and competently and that's it. 

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As we require new pilots to attain A certification before flying unsupervised, it seems fair to ask a more experienced new member to either possess an A certificate or take the test.  As there's no charge and we will almost always have an examiner ready and willing to conduct a test, it doesn't seem unreasonable to me. Remember that the A test isn't just about flying ability but encompasses a knowledge of both local site rules and more general operating procedures.

 

On the other hand, however well qualified on paper any pilot consistently demonstrating poor standards will be monitored and offered assistance and advice.

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On 04/06/2021 at 18:55, Andy Gates said:

Main reason is that we have a bridal way down one side of the field and a farm track at right angle to that.

I love this one! My day is now filled with visions of flying while a procession of ladies in white lace process down the side of the field, followed by a train of bridesmaids in unsuitable pink frocks. 🤣. Thanks, I needed cheering up. 👍🏻

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On 27/07/2021 at 19:05, Matt Carlton said:

No rule around certification, but we do ask for a competency flight from new members before allowing them to fly alone. 

Having a certificate is a bit meaningless if the certificate was obtained 20 years ago and the person hasn't flown since, likewise there are plenty of very very good pilots who haven't got any certificates whatsoever. So I would far rather witness someone flying than take somebody else's word for their competence. 

So no rules about certificates, just show you can fly and behave sensibly and competently and that's it. 

Like I said  in my earlier comment. It is about how you fly now, not how you flew several years ago when you took a test, before your eyesight hearing and reactions started to deteriorate. The achievement scheme was originally voluntary, it is now seen as a licence to fly which it was never designed to be. Much better to vet anyone on their present abilities, or lack of, as the case may be. This has been the case in our club and has stood us in very good stead over many years regardless of whatever  certificate you may hold.

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The BMFA has always maintained that the Achievement Scheme is just that.  An individual's achievement.  Like an MoT certificate, passing the test says that on that day your flying and knowledge of the rules was good enough to pass.  

 

It is most definitely not a licence.

 

I think Clubs that ask new members to fly an A, or B, to see if they are still at the standard required, are doing the right thing before they let the new member fly and use the fact of an AS test pass to fly unsupervised or large/heavy/fast aircraft.

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