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How does a BMFA Country Member get an A Certificate?

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Julian Murch25/06/2019 17:26:35
23 forum posts

Thanks for the information I will continue the build - soon to cover and complete. Looks like I should find a flying club near me. I did make some enquiries some time back so have some choices. I am in Dunstable Bedfordshire.

Martin Harris25/06/2019 17:39:15
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8561 forum posts
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Good advice from Bruce.

From my experience, the figure eight catches more people out than any other manouevre. While it sounds simple, there may be a little more to it than is apparent from reading the test schedule. Practice it in a variety of wind conditions and remember the examiner will be looking for what is effectively 2 circles described over the ground, side by side with the crossing point right in front of you. Flown correctly, for an instant during the turns between the circles, the model should be flying directly away from you.

It needs to be flown with appropriate corrections for wind drift which in anything but a light wind means constantly varying bank angles - which as you'll appreciate as an experienced pilot means varying the throttle to keep the height constant.

The A test allows a little latitude as the B test specifies that it needs to be flown more accurately but it's a marvellous demonstration that a pilot can judge his position relative to the ground, turn accurately in both directions and keep a reasonably constant height in any wind, turbulence and thermal activity on the day.

Dickw25/06/2019 18:18:36
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Posted by Julian Murch on 25/06/2019 17:26:35:

Thanks for the information I will continue the build - soon to cover and complete. Looks like I should find a flying club near me. I did make some enquiries some time back so have some choices. I am in Dunstable Bedfordshire.

The BMFA "club finder" is a good place to find clubs near you. Start here.

Dick

SIMON CRAGG25/06/2019 19:50:46
360 forum posts
5 photos
Posted by Martin Harris on 25/06/2019 17:39:15:

Good advice from Bruce.

From my experience, the figure eight catches more people out than any other manouevre. While it sounds simple, there may be a little more to it than is apparent from reading the test schedule. Practice it in a variety of wind conditions and remember the examiner will be looking for what is effectively 2 circles described over the ground, side by side with the crossing point right in front of you. Flown correctly, for an instant during the turns between the circles, the model should be flying directly away from you.

It needs to be flown with appropriate corrections for wind drift which in anything but a light wind means constantly varying bank angles - which as you'll appreciate as an experienced pilot means varying the throttle to keep the height constant.

The A test allows a little latitude as the B test specifies that it needs to be flown more accurately but it's a marvellous demonstration that a pilot can judge his position relative to the ground, turn accurately in both directions and keep a reasonably constant height in any wind, turbulence and thermal activity on the day.

I attended an Examiners workshop at the weekend, during which we covered both A and B tests in fine detail, Martin has covered one of the test manouvres in detail above.

So you are following the latest guidelines, checkout the MAY 19 edition of the achievement scheme A/B via the BMFA website download tab. The guidelines are updated on an annual basis, and examiners will of course be testing to the latest edition.

Bruce Collinson27/06/2019 18:05:38
364 forum posts

Re the figure 8s, one very experienced pilot effectively failed for flying tight pylon turns too close in and another drifted behind the pilot line.

Forgot to put on my list, especially for you Filmbuff, check the site rules for your host club as it seems likely that your examiner will ask about them and they do vary a bit.

BTC

Tim Flyer27/06/2019 22:11:24
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994 forum posts
165 photos

I agree that figure of 8 the test is difficult. I remember when I did my A a few years ago the examiner described the “two circles “ rather than a proper number 8 . Doing the double circle does seem a bit strange to me as it involves the pilot aiming the plane at himself in the centre. To me that’s not a natural thing to do . In my “ regular “ sport flying I always avoid flying straight towards the pilot box as I believe it increases risk and can intimidate other pilots.

Sparks27/06/2019 23:00:35
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260 forum posts
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Tim,

To quote Martin from an earlier post, 'Flown correctly, for an instant during the turns between the circles, the model should be flying directly away from you'.

 

 

.

Edited By Sparks on 27/06/2019 23:01:17

Jon Robb28/06/2019 00:52:44
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30 forum posts
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Page 13 of the fixed wing test standards describes the manoeuvre in detail. However in short it should always start and finish being flown into wind with the first turn made away from the pilot, so the model is directly in front of the pilot and briefly flying directly away from the pilot.

**LINK**

Peter Jenkins28/06/2019 01:02:04
1213 forum posts
132 photos
Posted by Tim Flyer on 27/06/2019 22:11:24:

I agree that figure of 8 the test is difficult. I remember when I did my A a few years ago the examiner described the “two circles “ rather than a proper number 8 . Doing the double circle does seem a bit strange to me as it involves the pilot aiming the plane at himself in the centre. To me that’s not a natural thing to do . In my “ regular “ sport flying I always avoid flying straight towards the pilot box as I believe it increases risk and can intimidate other pilots.

Tim, I don't understand how you ended up flying towards yourself in the fig 8. It is 2 circles touching at the cross over point but as has been said above your initial turn is away from yourself to cross the point at which the 2 circles touch followed by reversing the turn to track round the upwind circle. You will end up flying towards yourself twice as you come round the 2 circles but that's not the same as flying towards the pilot box to which you refer. Did your Examiner get the demo wrong by flying the Fig 8 by turning towards the pilot box for the first turn?

Don Fry28/06/2019 06:47:34
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3650 forum posts
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Of course, you can always resort to asking the examiner what is wanted, and then do was he says.

Bob Rowland28/06/2019 07:09:29
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**LINK**

Tim Flyer28/06/2019 15:34:53
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994 forum posts
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As I said my test was a quite a few years ago and I passed it . The most difficult thing was arranging the test and getting tested . I had thought about doing the B test last year but didn’t as we don’t have a club examiner . Regarding “ the circles” I had forgotten that the first turn is away from the pilot. That seems sensible as I never fly my models directly towards me (or pilot box which I would be standing in!) . Generally I think the BMFA achievement schemes are good but they do not seem to that well supported. It would be good if people were allowed to arrange to go to the national testing centre to take them under an official programme . I also see BMFA has also ruled out private testing. It doesn’t make sense to me in terms of promoting achievement schemes. I guess commercial reality will catch up with them some time.

John Lee28/06/2019 15:50:41
635 forum posts
47 photos
Posted by Tim Flyer on 28/06/2019 15:34:53:

Generally I think the BMFA achievement schemes are good but they do not seem to that well supported.

At an Achievement Scheme Roadshow in March we were told that over 20,000 Achievement Scheme Certificates had been issued to date. I think that qualifies as being well supported.

Steve J28/06/2019 16:19:05
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1152 forum posts
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Posted by John Lee on 28/06/2019 15:50:41:

At an Achievement Scheme Roadshow in March we were told that over 20,000 Achievement Scheme Certificates had been issued to date.

Over what time period? If that is since the scheme started then it doesn't sound like a lot.

The percentage of members that have one or more certificates would be more interesting.

Steve

Percy Verance28/06/2019 16:30:57
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8110 forum posts
155 photos

It must be over 30+ years, because I took my "B" about then (mid to late 80's). And I must have taken my "A" a couple of years prior to that, but I've lost the A certificate since our house move, so I can't be sure of the exact date. Was an Examiner for 25+ years, but not any more. No longer a BMFA member.

 

 

 

Edited By Percy Verance on 28/06/2019 16:38:45

FilmBuff28/06/2019 16:45:49
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249 forum posts
28 photos

The BMFA Scheme weekend is 2nd - 4th August.

Demonstrations, practice and testing available. I plan to be there and do my A Test

Tim Flyer28/06/2019 21:54:04
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994 forum posts
165 photos

The I will have a chat with the BMFA guys at Wings and Wheels tomorrow. I do find the so called “non commercial “ attitude to testing strange. If they seriously want to get more people involved they need to compensate examiners and that not only would give them more enthusiasm plus ability to do more , as well as increasing availability for people who want to take the tests. In many other pastimes we see much more structured and available courses. For instance RYA sailing courses offer a huge syllabus and many different courses. Our flying courses are a very poor cousin. I hardly think sailing is so much more complicated than flying. Sailing and many other activities’ sporting/associations offer acommercially run courses that help maintain standards as well as pay the bills😊

Edited By Tim Flyer on 28/06/2019 21:55:11

Edited By Tim Flyer on 28/06/2019 21:57:04

Peter Jenkins29/06/2019 00:03:53
1213 forum posts
132 photos

Tim, I think you must have got your wires crossed about the BMFA and commercial testing. The only stipulation that the BMFA have is that a commercial school cannot be both the trainer and examiner and insisted that the examiner must come from outside the training school staff. I think this is a sensible approach to avoid a conflict of interest issue arising. There are at least 2 commercial schools in operation, as far as I know, and they do seem to be viable but I do wonder whether there is a big enough market for more than that number of commercial schools. You may be aware that the model aircraft fraternity is quite frugal in their spending so I rather doubt that your assertion that there is a significant market for this service although there may well be a market for jet pilots who may feel the investment in commercial training is worthwhile given their investment in the model.

My Area recently ran a one day course covering coaching for the A and B with help on model setup and the opportunity to take a test if you wanted. It was fully subscribed within a couple of days (15 pilots) with a waiting list of 7 in another couple of days. So, it would appear that there is a demand but this event was free to participants apart from having to pay for a BBQ. I have run courses to help A, and some B, pilots to try out precision aerobatics (i.e. not 3D) and that rarely attracted the total of 12 that I specified to allow sufficient time to fly. By the way, the aerobatics were directly linked to the type of manoeuvres required for the B Test.

In my experience, the majority of pilots are quite content to gain their A and then just enjoy their flying without bothering to go on to anything more complicated like a B. I think what you are saying is that BMFA should run courses staffed by professionals. The BMFA is set up as a non-profit body and this would put them in direct competition with purely commercial operators and lead to charges of unfair competition. In any event, the Buckminster Centre provides a service that is free to members apart from paying to use the facility on a daily basis. You can go there to get training and take tests by arrangement. However, most Clubs ought to have Club instructors and Club Examiners who could do the same thing without having to travel to Buckminster

You say that the most difficult thing was arranging the test and getting an examiner. Clearly, you didn't approach your Area Achievement Scheme Coordinator for help in getting both assistance in training and an examiner. Were you aware that that is how you get help in these areas? The Area ASC can arrange for either an Area Chief Instructor to help with instruction and an Area Chief Examiner, or another Club Examiner, to help to take the Achievement Scheme Test. Sadly, many Clubs are unaware of this although it is all described in the BMFA Handbook.

So, my question is, have you tried this approach and did you still not get the help you wanted or are you just speaking off the cuff on the basis of your own experience "quite a few years ago"?

Jonathan M29/06/2019 07:36:40
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668 forum posts
275 photos

Good to see the BMFA using You Tube as an educational tool. Useful on the A Cert video to have camera-work from alongside and from birds-eye view via drone as well as from the usual static position on the ground. Would have been helpful (for learners) to have also had sub-titles for each component of the flying part.

It would be good to see the B Cert version once that is produced, again with sub-titles for each discrete part of the 'schedule' so to speak. At the moment there appears to only be one good (non-simulator) version of the complete 'schedule' online: B Cert video

Moving on (and waaay above my own pay-grade), this is first class material: F3A Introduction, Explanation and Demonstration (5 videos)

J D 829/06/2019 08:29:25
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1173 forum posts
75 photos

I passed the A and B tests many moons ago but still practice the figure of eight / two touching circles manouvre when I am the only one up. As others have said keeps you in touch good positioning of your aircraft, not so easy with some of the vintage types I fly.

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