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Revalidating A & B Certificates (and examiners certificates)

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Braddock, VC16/07/2013 23:32:19
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I've spoken to many long time B certificate holders and they tend to reflect on the ease with which they passed theiir A,B and examiner's certs in the early days. (80s etc)

I certainly think that an A certificate is just an endorsement for solo flying but the B and certainly the examiners certificate should surely be exposed to professional developement and peer endorsement?

I've spoken to "examiners" who have taken part in B examinations that could be numbered on the thumbs of one hand in the last ten years and their account of their B examination in the early 80s and their subsequent examiners test left my blood running cold.

In my last club I promoted mass theory examinations that lead to several candidates getting their A cert and others being failed for what I considered piddling flying errors. At the time yet these same examiners conducted at least one successful B test. My head says they weren't really competent having taken less than 2 B tests over the previous ten years.

Isn't it time the bmfa started reassessing examiners as per driving test examiners, after all these two guys were in their early 50s when they attained examiner status but were in their 70s at their last club B test.

I know one of the examiners asked me to endorse his application for driving licence renewal 4 years ago, due to his subsequent erratic behaviour I wrote to the dvlc withdrawing my endorsement last year.

(FWIW I was amazed at their response, they said that they would advise his insurers of my concerns- I also told him too btw) I stress I wasn't being vindictive about this, I just worried in case this guy, whom I think had lost the plot, was involved in an acccident and his competency could then be traced back to me.

Another FWIW, my wife is a freelance OFSTED inspector and she has either to complete 10 OFSTED inspections per annum over three years and be moderated on at least one per annum or face re-assessment , at a cost of £360, every third year.

Dizz17/07/2013 00:20:01
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The point you raise is a valid one. I know Examiner "currency" has been the subject of discussion at many Area and Full Council meetings over the last few years and I believe the National Achievement Scheme Co-ordinator is considering how this could be implimented.

However having gained Examiner status the individual's lead club has the responsibility of ratifying the qualification in the yearly BMFA return in the New Year, so if someone is no-longer suitable that is where the process should start. Several Areas run Examiner statndarisation sessions during the flying season, but you can't force attendance - one of the issues with an un-paid voluntary scheme.  Comparing to a Driving Instructor or OFSTED inspector is comparing apples with pears.

Pete

 

Edited By Dizz on 17/07/2013 00:23:32

Edited By Dizz on 17/07/2013 00:23:46

MaxG17/07/2013 07:51:38
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This is a continuing issue with a lot of the competence schemes throughout the world. I am involved with some in industry which have similar issues.

They are moving with the times and gradually tightening up as they learn how the scheme should work over a long period and how people's competence should be maintained.

Not everything is tightening up however some systems are getting easier, those in education spring to mind.

One issue you have to consider is how you would administer any retest situation, who would do it and how it would be funded.

There could also be cases of the "old boys network" where some examiners may be more lenient with their flying buddies than with those they do not know.

The other question is whether the current situation is causing a problem from a safety viewpoint and in the end that is what this is about. If it is not the based on the old adage "If it ain't broke don't fix it"

Just a thought

Max

Alan Wood17/07/2013 10:13:38
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28 forum posts

Examiners should be re-tested and so should 'B' fliers. I have seen sooooo many who don't meet the basic standards.

I would say at least half of the pilots who fly at shows aren't competent enough to fly at shows. I put this down to friends testing/examining friends. This is evident by the amount that can't land in a crosswind. It is too easy to forget that we are flying machines that could easially kill someone, and anyone who flies one at a show should be cabable of controlling that machine.

Bearair17/07/2013 10:33:31
386 forum posts
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Posted by Braddock, VC on 16/07/2013 23:32:19:

I've spoken to many long time B certificate holders and they tend to reflect on the ease with which they passed theiir A,B and examiner's certs in the early days. (80s etc)

I certainly think that an A certificate is just an endorsement for solo flying but the B and certainly the examiners certificate should surely be exposed to professional developement and peer endorsement?

I've spoken to "examiners" who have taken part in B examinations that could be numbered on the thumbs of one hand in the last ten years and their account of their B examination in the early 80s and their subsequent examiners test left my blood running cold.

In my last club I promoted mass theory examinations that lead to several candidates getting their A cert and others being failed for what I considered piddling flying errors. At the time yet these same examiners conducted at least one successful B test. My head says they weren't really competent having taken less than 2 B tests over the previous ten years.

Isn't it time the bmfa started reassessing examiners as per driving test examiners, after all these two guys were in their early 50s when they attained examiner status but were in their 70s at their last club B test.

I know one of the examiners asked me to endorse his application for driving licence renewal 4 years ago, due to his subsequent erratic behaviour I wrote to the dvlc withdrawing my endorsement last year.

(FWIW I was amazed at their response, they said that they would advise his insurers of my concerns- I also told him too btw) I stress I wasn't being vindictive about this, I just worried in case this guy, whom I think had lost the plot, was involved in an acccident and his competency could then be traced back to me.

Another FWIW, my wife is a freelance OFSTED inspector and she has either to complete 10 OFSTED inspections per annum over three years and be moderated on at least one per annum or face re-assessment , at a cost of £360, every third year.

FACT. An A-Cert is not intented to be a endorsement for solo flying, that clubs use it as such is up to them.

Martin Harris17/07/2013 11:37:37
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Posted by Alan Wood on 17/07/2013 10:13:38:

Examiners should be re-tested and so should 'B' fliers. I have seen sooooo many who don't meet the basic standards.

I would say at least half of the pilots who fly at shows aren't competent enough to fly at shows. I put this down to friends testing/examining friends. This is evident by the amount that can't land in a crosswind. It is too easy to forget that we are flying machines that could easially kill someone, and anyone who flies one at a show should be cabable of controlling that machine.

As far as I'm aware, the B is a basic indication of the level of competence required to fly in public. Possession of a B doesn't mean that you suddenly become "expert" enough to fly at a show - possibly under conditions and pressures you would not normally experience at your club.

As far as I'm aware, there's no need to demonstrate a crosswind landing in a B test anyway so retesting wouldn't make a ha'pence of difference in that particular case.

The responsibility to ensure pilot competence lies with the show organisers.

Percy Verance17/07/2013 19:52:08
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Braddock

I think you've missed the point a little. The BMFA proficiency scheme is entirely voluntary, and model flying is a hobby. At the end of the day none of it matters one jot. People who choose to fly models aren't in any way obliged to be club members or take any form of test.

Profesional qualifications relating to an actual job are another matter altogether. If you don't feel an Examiner is up to required standards,then don't go near him...........

Erfolg17/07/2013 21:10:26
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The starting point surely must be what is the purpose of each test.

The next question is then how would you demonstrate that the purpose has been achieved.

You can go along in this manner until you understand the entirety of the issues.

As for some of the ideas of professional qualifications, these vary greatly around the world. For best practise i personally would not necessarily immediately think of some of the schemes run in the UK. Particularly those dreamt up by a recent government, which seemed to be more to do with revenue and a new version of closed shops, than knowledge and true professionalism. But as Percy points out, this is not a industrial or professional qualification. In my opinion, nor should it be.

I also think you need to tread carefully when judging others, sometimes our judgements and treatment of others may say a lot about our own failings. As my wife frequently points out, i apparently have a few.

Alan Randall17/07/2013 21:43:01
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I'm with Percy, it is a hobby and you will soon put people off it if you get too official. Whatever certificate you have pinned on the wall, you can still have an off day and crash or do something dangerous even .If you make a habit of the latter, then its up to the safety officer and your peers to tell you so.

Edited By Alan Randall on 17/07/2013 21:44:52

Devon Flyer17/07/2013 22:37:09
622 forum posts
Posted by Percy Verance on 17/07/2013 19:52:08:

Braddock

I think you've missed the point a little. The BMFA proficiency scheme is entirely voluntary, and model flying is a hobby. At the end of the day none of it matters one jot. People who choose to fly models aren't in any way obliged to be club members or take any form of test.

Profesional qualifications relating to an actual job are another matter altogether. If you don't feel an Examiner is up to required standards,then don't go near him...........

thumbs up

Paul Adams17/07/2013 22:48:42
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As an instructor (with a B cert) looking to take on the role of a examiner, and looking for what is acceptable flying standard, I was met with a bit of a grey area. The BMFA handbook states that the "candidate should demonstrate to you their ability to be in full and safe control of their model at all times during a flight in which they must fly a set of simple, specified manoeuvres competently and with reasonable accuracy", so just how good is reasonable accuracy? I can imagine that means something different to different examiners, so given the same student, some could pass him (or her) and others would fail him or her.

What I was hoping for was similar to what I have seen in other clubs, where the examiners get together once a year and go through the changes in the requirements (in our case the BMFA handbook), are coached in what to look for and more importantly what standard is acceptable. One thought would be at one of the BMFA examination days at Old Warden, where new / potential examiners could shadow an experienced examiner.

Martin Harris17/07/2013 23:18:37
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First, in response to comments about the comparisons between the BMFA scheme and professional assessment bodies, doesn't the clue lie in the name - the Achievement Scheme...

Paul, if it's any help, the examiner's test has changed recently and there's a lot more emphasis on assessment, rather than just being able to demonstrate a B test so you should at least get the benefit of some discussion with your Area Chief Examiner and a chance to assess a real or "dummy" B test and give feedback on your own demonstration.

My feeling (as an inexperienced and recently qualified examiner) is that the A test flying standards can be broadly defined as whether the examiner feels that the candidate is able to control the model safely with enough awareness of what's happening around them to operate unsupervised. There is guidance on test standards published on the BMFA site - the most subjective manoeuvre probably being the figure of 8 which can't be expected to be "perfect" as the B test specifies it needs to be flown to a higher standard.

Edited By Martin Harris on 17/07/2013 23:20:02

Erfolg18/07/2013 10:35:59
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11430 forum posts
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The views as expressed by Percy and Martin, for me provide the only justification for the tests.

That is, demonstrating the ability to fly a model safely, in specific circumstances.

The need for precision is not there, as the aim is to demonstrate that manoeuvres can be undertaken safely relevant to the safety criteria.

The club I am a member off, has a slightly more demanding criteria in awarding the "A" test, in that their are specific additional safety issues to the respect to the site.. In that way, having a "A" test from another club, is not enough, the additional requirements must be demonstrated.

I am a member of a second club that does not utilise the BMFA Achievement Scheme, relying on its own processes for ensuring softy, relative to the site.

As for mental health issues, it would appear that a very high percentage of the population will have some issues, at some time. The vast majority having no impact on others at all.

Edited By Erfolg on 18/07/2013 10:36:51

cymaz18/07/2013 11:27:57
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I know its a bit off thread but I hope this helps

A few of us in the BMFA Cornwall Area group tried in vain to get a B+ scheme off the ground. A little more harder than a B but not hard like the C. Many felt the jump from B to C was too much. I was in favour of doing a set schedule to be flown non-stop. This makes the pilot more in control of the plane whilst flying. It also teaches the pilot to use throttle more and to think more about the schedule.

The link below is to our Clubman Competition that I organise for the club. The maneouvers taken one by one are straight forward enough. Fly them in a non stop routine and it will show up any flaws the pilot/plane might have.

You are all welcome to copy it and have a go at your field and let me know how you all got on. This schedule is starting to become a favourite at the club competitions.

 

Edited By cymaz on 18/07/2013 11:31:05

Martin Harris18/07/2013 11:30:32
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As I recall, Karl, your club requires a pair of consecutive loops as part of the requirement to fly at their demanding site. I'm intrigued as to the relevence of this manouevre....

Having said that, it is entirely the right (and responsibility) of a club to demand whatever standard of pilot ability - and probably just as importantly, attitude, that they see fit.

cymaz18/07/2013 11:33:40
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8814 forum posts
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The idea of having two consecutive loops is that it is harder than one! If you set the plane poorly for the first loop then all the errors are magnified in the second. Trust me it works.

Martin Harris18/07/2013 12:18:59
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8952 forum posts
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I appreciate that the manoeuvre is more difficult than a single loop - which itself is above A test requirements - but it's more the question of why a pilot needs to be capable of looping - once, twice or umpty seven times consecutively - in order to be able to fly safely at Erfolg's unusual site...!

cymaz18/07/2013 12:30:55
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8814 forum posts
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Cub members that have tried this schedule over the last few years have had to fly it with more precision, skill and better use of all four controls at once. This can't be bad to raise pilot skill levels and hence safe flying. Granted , a skilled pilot may not do somethings safely on the ground but if the mind set is there then the club is half way there to a safer flying site.

Our club finds it a good challenge to do a set schedule, something to practice for and raise their game a bit. As time goes on I'm sure with some good tutoring then more of our club fliers will have a go. Thats all I want running the clubman schedule....have a go, if they muck it up, so what. It might spur a couple on to practice more.

 

BTW Martin its not Karl!!!

Edited By cymaz on 18/07/2013 12:32:17

Martin Harris18/07/2013 12:47:09
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8952 forum posts
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Ah - now I see where you're coming from - I was replying to Erfolg's post as he's detailed some of his club's requirements in another thread which are above the normal A certificate (and inferred that his club examiners want to see the extra requirements demonstrated in order to issue an A which I thoroughly disagree with).

When I posted your reply wasn't on my screen - and your idea seems very sound...

Erfolg18/07/2013 12:58:17
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With respect to one of the clubs I am a member of, I cannot and do not speak for the club. From general conservation and observation, I believe that this is the broad safety issue.

This club site contrasts with the first site, in many respects. Concentrating on why you may need to expect to have additional requirements. The first is that two Rugby clubs are in the immediate vicinity, which form part of the out of bounds. A second constraint, is that one side of the field, has a screen of trees, exactly where my preferred downwind approach line would be. There are additional trees at either end of take of path. There are more hazards which i could mention, but I will restrain myself.

It is the constraints, which does require a level of precision and more importantly control, particularly when landing, to achieve consistency. With respect to the other aspects, it is easy to get out of the line of sight by straying into some areas, control and appreciation of hazards is necessary, to minimise the possibility of a careless fly away.

I have noticed that the take off/landing strip is normally at right angles to the normal operating area. This contrasts with my first club, where they area essentially parallel, with nothing other than a road where overflying is generally frowned on, as being out of bounds.

I now appreciate why the "A" test or better can be a club requirement, in other cases it is just another bureaucratic bit of nonsense.

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