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I am mildly surprised that there is such confusion about the appointment of a Club Examiner.  The procedure is, and always has been, set out in the Members Handbook - you just needed to read it.  Incidentally, the latest version of the BMFA Handbook is available on line.  There is also an Achievement Scheme Website, which is mentioned in Section 17 of the Members Handbook, the existence of which seems to be unknown to many Club Examiners and Instructors to whom I have spoken.  This fact has been publicised many times in the BMFA News - you do need to read this magazine especially now as there is almost always a section on the Achievement Scheme by the Contoller, Duncan McClure that flags up any changes and emphasises any procedures that are being breached.

 

The Achievement Scheme website also has all the guidance documents for the wide range of tests as well as the Achievement Scheme Handbook.  If you are going to take an A, B or C test, you should read these documents as they will tell both the candidate and the instructor what the standard is for each of the elements of the test.  Again, it surprises me how many candidates for a test are unaware that the guidance notes exist and rely on what was in the Members Handbook in days of yore.  They will look in vain in the current Members Handbook as the information has been moved to the Achievement Scheme Handbook and the guidance documents and has been there for some years.

 

As regards the appointment of Club Examiners, the Club does not initially appoint an examiner.  Either the Chairman or Secretary has to write or email the Area Coordinator to request that a Club candidate be tested and confirm that if the candidate is successful the Club will then appoint them as a Club Examiner for their Club.  There is even a page on the AS website for Clubs to send in their requests.

 

Common guys, it's not that difficult to find out what is required.  You can always ask your Area Achievement Scheme Coordinator (Area websites usually have a way of contacting the Area Committee including the Coordinator) or just email or phone the BMFA head office.

 

Club Committees can ask for one of their Club Examiners to be re-tested should they not be up to scratch.

 

One thing is certain, a Club Examiner appointment is not for life as some have told me.  At the very least, a good Club Examiner should remain up to date with the changes to the Achievement Scheme Tests.  These are updated every year and are published on the Achievement Scheme website under The Test menu or just click this link.  Furthermore, I believe that Club Instructors should be able to demonstrate what is the required standard for a B test in their pass area, and if they hold multiple B certificates for all of the tests for which they can examine.  I regularly fly A and B fixed wing tests to keep my hand in.  Then again, as I regularly fly in aerobatic competitions the tests are not difficult to fly but I find that I do need to practise them from time to time since I tend to use a Wot 4 or Irvine Trainer to perform them.  Whilst I do what I can to maintain the required standards I am not so arrogant to assume that I can fly the test perfectly every time.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Cassandra said:

 

ROTFL.

 

While I am sure that what you describe happens in some clubs, it is not what I have observed.

Do you think that is because the clubs know the rules, but are deliberately bending them to suit themselves.

OR

because they don't know the rules and are just doing what they think might be right?

 

In either case, how do we go about correcting that? The BMFA is doing its best to "spread the word", but is always open to sensible suggestions.

 

Anyone?????

 

Dick

 

 

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Cassandra - you seem to have experienced the worst side of the scheme but if you’re truly interested in improving things, could you consider contacting your area’s scheme coordinator with your concerns?

 

This isn’t an attitude I’ve ever come across at several workshops and events that I’ve attended but I do realise that poor examiners are less likely to attend. However, these events have been well attended by representatives of many clubs in our area so hopefully you’ve just been unlucky with your experience  of club examiners.  
 

Have you been involved in running the club(s) which have permitted such abuse or lax standards?  If everyone who felt that things weren’t being done correctly made a positive contribution, I suspect that conversations like this would be much less common. 

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11 hours ago, Martin Harris - Moderator said:

.  It is, in my opinion, a ringing endorsement of the scheme that possession of an A is regarded as an indication of competence by the CAA.

 

 

That's not really the case though, is it?

Yes, the BMFA secured 'grandfather rights' for existing A cert holders, but going forward new holders of the A cert will also have to do the online 'test', for whatever that's worth.

Or have I misinterpreted??

Kim

Edited by Kim Taylor
edit for clarity
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7 minutes ago, Martin Harris - Moderator said:

While I obviously agree substantially with this observation, those that do attend claim to gain a great deal from them so I feel that examiners both good and bad need to attend occasionally to maintain some common standards and keep updated.

Trouble is that bad ones don't believe they are bad.  They think they are right and don't need to attend workshops as they are a waste of time.  That comment is based on experience.

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1 hour ago, Cassandra said:

 

You have answered your own point. People who don't need to go to workshops do and those who do need to go don't.

While I obviously agree substantially with this observation, those that do attend claim to gain a great deal from them so I feel that examiners both good and bad need to attend occasionally to maintain some common standards and keep updated.

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1 hour ago, Cassandra said:

 

The last person that I saw question the way that things were done by the ruling clique in a club was forced out soon after. I have no desire to follow him.

 

I'd question whether I wanted to be a member of such a club anyway! It certainly isn't my experience of clubs but perhaps I've just been lucky - when I've felt strongly about a subject my views have been listened to even when they were at odds with the rest of the committee.

 

Is it common to have clubs that are ruled by fear?  I would hate to think that anyone in our club might feel that way.

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29 minutes ago, Peter Jenkins said:

Trouble is that bad ones don't believe they are bad.  They think they are right and don't need to attend workshops as they are a waste of time.  That comment is based on experience.

That's why I feel that some sort of mandatory ongoing training would be useful.  I know the idea was rejected a few years ago but some of the objections could be addressed by modern technology as the very successful web meetings held during the Covid crisis have shown.

 

I believe that all examiners should see their appointment as a privilege and I took it as a real compliment when I was asked to take on the role at my club.  If someone can't accept or see the need for ongoing levelling of standards and keeping current with the scheme requirements, I'd question their suitability.

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I don't see it as a privilege, get dragged into rows because of it, plenty want to provide bullets but want me to shoot em.

The rogue A/B/C Examiners about are the result of clubs allowing it, tell me I am wrong.

 

I can go on a workshop fly a perfect B cert, answer all the questions right, be a paragon of virtue, get back to my club and be a pain in the rear, now what are you gonna do ?

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As a committee member that nominated you?  I would ask you to do the job properly or find someone willing to take the role seriously.  An examiner rating is only valid when you are ratified by a club and they are under no obligation to continue with that ratification.

 

Luckily, I know you're playing devil's advocate!  I agree totally that poor examiners are the responsibility of their clubs.  Let's hope that airing the subject gets a few more thinking about how they can improve the situation.

 

Bullets, John?  Are you saying that your club is asking you to re-test members?  This action shouldn't be taken at club level and an outside examiner should be appointed by the area scheme coordinator on application by the club's committee.

 

I've failed many candidates for A tests but haven't heard any grumbles - overwhelmingly the reaction has been that they realised their performance wasn't up to scratch and they were happy to work on their shortcomings. When they have passed, they seem grateful for the advice I've given them and I believe that they may become better flyers for it.

 

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ok the tests are part of the BMFA achievement scheme no more/less...if the person who has become an examiner for his club is happy doing it and the club members are happy with him that should be the end of the matter..in the past i've read of examiners should have to be retested(Why)...if you have a dodgy examiner who isn't consistent with the way he tests members or dishes out certs as though they are growing on tree's that is a different matter.

 

iv'e been our club examiner in the past and always tried to be fair and consistent with whoever, and gave them a fair crack of the whip,i have seen people who would never satisfy me for an A or B...but they were in the minority,and didnt even have any interest in "bits of paper"...like most things at the club level,the examiner did/does it for the love of the hobby/club...i think that a lot of the associated rules and regs put some people off.

 

ken anderson...ne..1....examiner dept. 

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Ken, I would welcome being checked every 5 years or so for my own piece of mind.  I suspect anyone who has worked in aerospace, and flying radio controlled model aircraft puts us into aerospace as we share airspace, would have the same view.  It's not by accident (!) that aerospace has a better safety record than land or sea activities.  That should be what we are striving for - a good standard of safety.

 

I've heard an ACE, no less, say the B is all about safety but he couldn't care less if the loop is not carried out in the centre or the rolls centred for that matter.  I would contend that being able to put the aircraft in the right piece of sky for a manoeuvre is also about safety.

 

If we're happy with poor standards then I think it does those who practice to achieve the right standard a great disservice.  I know my viewpoint is not universally shared but that's my view.

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I'm a bit unsure about this centered one, I was happy with in front of me, over the take off/landing area, but it's changed, so be it.

Used to be said it wasn't about competition standard aeros, well it getting that way slowly but surely, a "Personal achievement" aimed at the club flyer ?

 

Checked every 5 years ? Not for me ta, it's a hobby and I do it for nowt, and get grief into the bargain for it. Count me out.

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1 hour ago, john stones 1 - Moderator said:

I'm a bit unsure about this centered one, I was happy with in front of me, over the take off/landing area, but it's changed, so be it.

Used to be said it wasn't about competition standard aeros, well it getting that way slowly but surely, a "Personal achievement" aimed at the club flyer ?

 

Checked every 5 years ? Not for me ta, it's a hobby and I do it for nowt, and get grief into the bargain for it. Count me out.

Hi John

 

You are right, for the loop it does say "in front of the pilot".   On the other hand, for the bunt it says "the bunt should be executed directly in front of the pilot" and for the 2 rolls "The model should be half way through the two rolls when it passes in front of the pilot although you may allow a little leeway here."  It is not that difficult, if you have practised it, to achieve a good centre for all these manoeuvres.  Problem is that some candidates turn up without having actually flown the B or maybe flown bits of it once or twice.  The biggest problem I had was consistency in that something would go wrong with a manoeuvre I'd got sorted while I mastered a different manoeuvre!  Frustrating!

 

I certainly don't look for a loop directly on centre but equally I don't want to see a loop that has flown past the centre by some margin.  I know when I first started practicing for the B that starting the loop in front of me was always a moment of great stress as I prevaricated that I wasn't quite ready to start the loop.  I think that is what the discipline of the B is about - the ability to fly the loop, bunt and have the centre of the 2 rolls in front or directly in front of the pilot.  The closest the test guidance comes to centred is the use of the phrase "directly in front of the pilot".  That sounds very close to centred but allows some wiggle room.

 

That OK?

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Getting hard to get lads to take B tests Peter, feedback I'm getting is it's gotten precision conscious, two good flyers won't take it and they would make good future examiners, both instruct a lot and do it well, both take on test flights for others, great allround attitudes and fly a variety of types, in my eyes, exactly what I thought a B flyers was, apart from yourself Wotty/Tutor 40 everytime a thread discusses "What's best model to use" ? It's a pattern jobbie dominating the answers, many don't fly or have an interest in this type, are we gradually discouraging these flyers from participating ?

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John, there is no doubt that a purpose designed aerobatic aircraft is easier to fly loops and bunts with than a Wot 4 BUT, a properly set up Wot 4 will do the job.  I've heard that some examiners demand higher standards if pilots use an aerobatic model.  This is wrong!  The pilot is being tested, not the model. It is just as easy to practice flying badly as it is to practice flying well.

 

Problem is, that it would appear, many do not know how to set up their aircraft to get the best out of it.  The most important factors, apart from having an aircraft without warps, are:  CG position; control throws; use of expo; use of rates.  

 

I agree that not many want to go for a B test these days.  In fact, when the requirement for a B to enter an aerobatic competition was dropped, we had many more pilots entering.  Not all were up to flying the Clubman schedule but they were keen to learn.  When the requirement for the B comes back from Jan 22, many of these pilots will be lost since they don't want to do the B.  Flying the Clubman is very much harder than the B as it's a turnaround schedule.  You don't get the luxury to fly round the circuit while your nerves recover before flying the next manoeuvre.  This I cannot understand.  Perhaps it's having to read the handbook and remember all the stuff for the questions.  Thing is, you should know all the stuff in order to operate safely.

 

Last time I asked, about 5 years ago, only 18% of the BMFA's members held a B.  So, I think that unless there is felt to be a need to get a B because you want to fly competition aerobatics there doesn't appear to be much to be gained from the effort required to get a B.  This is a pity as the B teaches you some very useful skills that greatly reduces the need for that black bin bag moment!  There is a proviso to that last sentence - provided you maintain your B test skills and don't let them atrophy.

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Covid has meant little involvement with B tests recently but I'm not sure where this impression comes from.  What has actually changed other than the questions?  The guidance merely clarifies where the manoeuvres should be performed - they haven't been changed.

 

I've seen B tests flown with a variety of models and there's nothing that requires a pattern ship. The most common is probably an Extra!

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1 minute ago, john stones 1 - Moderator said:

I agree with much you say Peter.

I flew Clubman for a year, didn't enjoy it that much, good lads but I flew against myself most comps, not fun.

I agree.  I've flown against myself in Clubman, Intermediate and even Masters on one occasion.  

 

The year we didn't need a B to enter competition, I had 10 entrants in Clubman in the two competitions I ran!  This was unheard of for over 10 years.  Some of these guys went on to get their Bs - in comparison with Clubman, the B's quite easy, but the swotting is still needed.

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