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11 hours ago, Jon - Laser Engines said:

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. 

 

I hope this policy refers to a club test Jon, not the BMFA Achievement Scheme A test. 
 

My understanding is that it’s an absolute requirement that the manoeuvres must be demonstrated to an acceptable standard. The examiner may ask a candidate to repeat an aspect which falls short of the required standard but only to a limited degree.  Your pilot of known ability shouldn’t have any problem repeating the test if he messes up the first attempt if he’s at A standard. Accepting lower standards “because he’s usually OK” devalues the value of the scheme as it is not a true recognition of their achievement. 

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My former large club had long operated their own flying test for beginners and until a beginner had passed that test they were not permitted to fly solo-they always had to be accompanied by an experienced pilot. A few instructors used buddy boxes, but ot was mostly a grab-the-tranny system. When the club moved to a larger field, with more permanent facilities around the millenium the decision was made to affilliate to the BMFA and the "A" test was adopted as the new flying test for solo flight. That presented a bit of a problem as the vast majority of experienced pilots had no BMFA certification at all. The committee set a one year transitional period and during that time almost all of the experienced pilots got their "A" and some "B" certificates. It made for a much clearer training method, using the Up and Away scheme and was a huge success- which yielded real benefits in improving site safety.

 

My current main clubs don't have such formal schemes in operation and there is no requirement for beginners to pass a formal test of have certification before flying solo. There was a push a few years ago to increase the number of pilots with "A" or SAA Bronze certification, but it still isn't a requirement. Personally I think it is much better for a beginner to have the discipline of following a scheme like the BMFA Up and Away and to have more structured learning, but recognise that isn't for everyone - better in the long run though. As a pilot who has that early learning a long way behind, I do appreciate the more laid back feel of my current clubs.

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1 hour ago, Cassandra said:

 

If you think that all 'A's (and 'B's and 'C's) are done to the correct standard at all clubs, I have a bridge to sell you.

I doubt if anyone thinks that, but if it is not picked up as unacceptable at every opportunity people might start to think that is how it is supposed to work.

We can but try.

 

Dick

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Thanks Dick.  This was exactly my motivation for posting and from the position of an ordinary examiner, I see the examiner workshops being run by areas as the main tool to try to achieve harmonisation between club examiners' standards.

 

As to whether I have either the funds to buy a bridge or a requirement for one remains a moot point - I suspect this is a regional expression but perhaps a good example of how things, including the English language, can vary across a very short distance in national terms unless they're shared!

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9 minutes ago, Martin Harris - Moderator said:

Thanks Dick.  This was exactly my motivation for posting and from the position of an ordinary examiner, I see the examiner workshops being run by areas as the main tool to try to achieve harmonisation between club examiners' standards.

 

As to whether I have either the funds to buy a bridge or a requirement for one remains a moot point - I suspect this is a regional expression but perhaps a good example of how things, including the English language, can vary across a very short distance in national terms unless they're shared!

Perhaps it refers to the sale of London Bridge to an American.

 

The story I heard was that when London Bridge was demolished an American bought it thinking that it was Tower Bridge.

 

I don't know whether it's true though. ?

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20 minutes ago, Martin Harris - Moderator said:

Thanks Dick.  This was exactly my motivation for posting and from the position of an ordinary examiner, I see the examiner workshops being run by areas as the main tool to try to achieve harmonisation between club examiners' standards.

 

As to whether I have either the funds to buy a bridge or a requirement for one remains a moot point - I suspect this is a regional expression but perhaps a good example of how things, including the English language, can vary across a very short distance in national terms unless they're shared!

 

Agree to a point Martin, club members aught to be getting involved if they think there's iffy standards about, all well and good posting on forums and moaning to the BMFA, those who ratify each year have authority to change things, use it.

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Realistically, I suspect that the ratifications are generally a paper exercise and only if standards have obviously slipped or there been some major transgression would a committee consider not re-ratifying an examiner.  This doesn't make it right but I do feel that the message ought to be promoted at every opportunity that the achievement tests are intended as a national standard.  There is nothing preventing a club introducing its own solo flying standard but it should not be modifying the requirements of the BMFA test.

 

My personal opinion is that ideally in order to be re-ratified every examiner should have to attend a workshop on (perhaps) a 3 or 5 year minimum basis but this does assume that sufficient workshops were available in larger geographical areas. I'm not advocating retesting - just an opportunity to see and discuss standards outside the limited environment of their own club. This might be something that could be adapted to an on-line format as the WWW continues to evolve and become increasingly part of day to day life.

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Brooklyn Bridge

 

We discourage (but do not ban) flying alone from a safety aspect.  We are all blokes of a certain age and although being out in the countryside under a vast blue sky may be a good way to go, I'd prefer it were not just yet...

 

But we do absolutely ban novices from being at the site and flying alone, for all the reasons mentioned above, particularly the possibility of 'incidents' causing problems for our site.

 

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Club committee do not re ratify our examiners, the members do at the AGM.

Now I know speaking up can be and is difficult, but no amount of workshops where we can go nod our heads and tick boxes will cure some problems, if you pass your mate out and he don't deserve it on merit, I don't believe it was done because you were not current.

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1 hour ago, john stones 1 said:

Club committee do not re ratify our examiners, the members do at the AGM.

Now I know speaking up can be and is difficult, but no amount of workshops where we can go nod our heads and tick boxes will cure some problems, if you pass your mate out and he don't deserve it on merit, I don't believe it was done because you were not current.

Two different matters John.  Integrity is one thing but the other is simply differing standards which is where the workshops can be so useful.

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The primary purpose of the BMFA achievement scheme is about personal aspiration, by encouraging improved flying standards & safe practices then recognising the attained level. It's not about gaining a licence. I see no reason that the standards should be the same in every BMFA area or even amongst different clubs within the same area.   

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The value is in the mind of the holder, so if he/she is satisfied that the examiner has tested to within what he/she understands to be the prescribed criteria I see no reason to be pedantic about "national" standards.

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A club can test to whatever standards it wishes to apply for its own testing requirements, and if anyone wishes to write their own certificates and get someone to sign them that is fine. If the holder of such a certificate is happy, then I have no problem with that.

 

BUT

I would strongly object to anyone applying their own examination criteria and standards and then issuing a BMFA Achievement Scheme Certificate. That just seems completely wrong to me. If anyone is claiming to issue BMFA Achievement Certificates then the requirements of the tests should be adhered to as all examiners should know. We know applying common standards is not easy but it should at least be attempted for a National Scheme.

 

Dick
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1 hour ago, Dickw said:

 

I would strongly object to anyone applying their own examination criteria and standards and then issuing a BMFA Achievement Scheme Certificate. That just seems completely wrong to me. If anyone is claiming to issue BMFA Achievement Certificates then the requirements of the tests should be adhered to as all examiners should know. We know applying common standards is not easy but it should at least be attempted for a National Scheme.

 

 

 

Dick

We're talking about personal interpretation of the criteria by experienced model fliers who have taken on the role of examiner. Any variation is only likely to be one of personal judgement. The purpose of the scheme is to promote what is essentially a "feel good" confidence booster to the examinee that has no impact on anyone else's. When there are no winners or losers between areas, why get anal about how commonality ?

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11 minutes ago, Cassandra said:

 

I was intending to become an examiner. I saw a couple of mates 'B's given and decided that I was going to have as little to do with the 'achievement scheme' as possible.

 

Why was you intending becoming an examiner ? Your standard is decided by you and your conduct, get yourself in there and change things, talk on here is easy.

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2 hours ago, PatMc said:

We're talking about personal interpretation of the criteria by experienced model fliers who have taken on the role of examiner. Any variation is only likely to be one of personal judgement. The purpose of the scheme is to promote what is essentially a "feel good" confidence booster to the examinee that has no impact on anyone else's. When there are no winners or losers between areas, why get anal about how commonality ?

If we are just talking about personal interpretation of the set criteria I have to agree that does inevitably exist.

 

The BMFA has tried to address that with the various Achievement Scheme Roadshows (held round the country pre Covid) and Zoom get-togethers (post Covid), and various BMFA Areas regularly hold “Examiner Workshops” so examiners can get together and compare notes on how they judge the tests.

Most examiners seem to enjoy the opportunity to get their own views across and perhaps learn from others.

Of course we also now have a number of videos to help both examiner and examinee understand what is required.

 

All of this is with the aim of trying to get some measure of commonality across the country. I am sure it is not perfect, but it seems worthwhile to try.

 

Dick

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