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The BMFA Achievement Scheme: The B Certificate


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When I lived in England, having obtained my A Certificate which enabled me to fly unsupervised at my local club, I saw no reason to take the B Certificate. My attitude was that as I have no wish to demonstrate my skills at public events, why should I go to all of the trouble and stress of preparing for a test which I might not pass? I have spent most of my life acquiring multiple qualifications in order to secure better and more remunerative employment, in retirement I cannot be bothered to with any more of that.

 

What incentives exists to encourage me to take the B Certificate?

 

What could the BMFA do to encourage me to take the exam?

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I totally agree that practise makes perfect, and preparation for a "B" test certainly makes you practise, making you a better flier.

 

Bit like an advanced driving test ?

 

You can prepare for the b, and even perform the b routine well eventually. You don't have to take the test unless you want to, but you will end up as a better all round flier, an achievement in its self, so a good thing.

 

Nothing wrong in doing things that please you. I suspect model flying pleases us all, else why do we do it.

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I strongly agree with Ron but there may be further tangible advantages depending on the local club policies.  Many require pilots flying models over 7kg to hold one (yes, not perfect as lighter but faster models can provide significantly high risk to persons or property) and I believe some make it a condition for instructors to hold one. 
 

But the bottom line is that the B is designed to encourage you to reach a higher personal standard of flying and operating and remains an achievement, which should be seen as a reward in itself.  
 

Stress? Well the test is free and I don’t believe there are likely to be any repercussions from failing, which if you have practiced enough is fairly unlikely. 
 

Lastly, it’s a prerequisite of becoming an examiner - not everyone’s cup of tea or your club may not have the need, but it does open the option. 

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Whilst recognising that some clubs use the "A" as a standard for allowing their members to fly solo, there is absolutely no need  from the BMFA for anyone to have an A, B or C Certificate. 

 

The various levels are personal Achievements, nothing more and nothing less.  Some people like to attain them, and others are content to avoid them.  

 

However, there is a certainly no harm in taking a pride in acquiring higher levels of piloting skills.  

 

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David, Life is not about what others can do for you, Its more what can I do to help myself and others. I am fortunate that I hold all Three C certificates and got them through wanting to improve my own flying and being disciplined to practise and take them. Many years ago I had no interest in any certificate then got the interest in trying to improve all my areas of flying and every time I go out flying Jets I practise the same sequence of manoeuvres that I did for my test to keep up the skills .The BMFA didn't ask me to them I chose to do them for myself.

 

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In one way I view the B schedule as putting the model through testing situations and seeing how the pilot comes through them in a safe manner. This gives confidence that the pilot won't get fazed when things go wrong like a sudden gust of wind, disorientation or avoiding a mid-air collision.

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As Ron said + and for me it was a route to >7kg models. I was advised by one of the club examiners to use a model with a higher wing loading which in itself taught valuable lessons and was was much more comfortable in windy conditions. It didn't have vertical climb performance, look good or fly that well, but did everything needed to pass the A with me at the sticks.

 

Firstly being able carry out each individual element on its own cleanly benefits general flying + the additional benefit of then sequencing them together helps if you need to change your plan. For example you are doing left circuits, someone else calls dead stick, then you have far more options for avoidance than just the A repertoire  For me it all helps to gain experience as I play catch up with those with decades of experience and feel confident to take on more challenges. 

 

On the flip side I see quite a few new pilots that pass their A and don't develop much further with confidence and skills which is a real shame as some of my favorite models to fly are either >7kg, multi prop (ic/electric) or multi wing.     

 

PS I have flown at a number of other clubs and the A & B certs evidence gets a warm reception from the hosting club officials which is a pleasant bonus as I would rather not have to display my competence with a model that would be challenging (bunt with a DR1). 

 

PPS - What is the down side of doing your B? if you have the time?

  

Edited by Chris Walby
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I did my "B" really to see if I was good enough in somebody elses eyes !  I flew for many years without any certs  , our club was so small it never became "law". A few of us took the A when it looked as though our land lord would forclose on the site and we might have to find another club , and most would need "A"s to fly. We asked BMFA for help as we had no examiners and they "sent" us Brian Cooper !!  He really set all of us at ease and those who took the test achieved the positive result .Top Guy !

A year or 2 later purely out of self satisfaction I aimed at the "B" .  First was practise, lots of it  , normal "hot dogging" around was not the way to go, the next was getting the right aircraft and tuning it to do what you wanted  .This took me months of practise to get it right , in the last 50 years I had picked up some dubious flying  habits!  

The day came , it was wet and windy  the two examiners , I did no know either of them turned up and I took the test successfully !

I am still smiling , have I ever used it ?? No, but I know now that I reached the level of expertise I aimed for .

An octogenarian now 

 

cheers

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11 hours ago, David Davis 2 said:

When I lived in England, having obtained my A Certificate which enabled me to fly unsupervised at my local club, I saw no reason to take the B Certificate. My attitude was that as I have no wish to demonstrate my skills at public events, why should I go to all of the trouble and stress of preparing for a test which I might not pass? I have spent most of my life acquiring multiple qualifications in order to secure better and more remunerative employment, in retirement I cannot be bothered to with any more of that.

 

What incentives exists to encourage me to take the B Certificate?

 

What could the BMFA do to encourage me to take the exam?

 

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2 hours ago, Richard Acland said:

 

Even if you did wish to demonstrate your skills at a public event you would not necessarily require a B certificate. That responsibility rests with the FDD or flying display director. If he/ she decides that you are competent to fly at at a public display you may do so. The BMFA recommends  that all pilots flying at public displays hold a B cert or equivalent, but it is only a recommendation. I am talking about models which are not covered by weight regulations which are subject to other rules and regs.

 

2 hours ago, Richard Acland said:

 

 

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14 hours ago, David Davis 2 said:

When I lived in England, having obtained my A Certificate which enabled me to fly unsupervised at my local club, I saw no reason to take the B Certificate. My attitude was that as I have no wish to demonstrate my skills at public events, why should I go to all of the trouble and stress of preparing for a test which I might not pass? I have spent most of my life acquiring multiple qualifications in order to secure better and more remunerative employment, in retirement I cannot be bothered to with any more of that.

 

What incentives exists to encourage me to take the B Certificate?

 

What could the BMFA do to encourage me to take the exam?

 

I don't understand the view that It's trouble and stress preparing for a B test, you'd do doing some flying honing the manoeuvres, sort of what we do everytime we go flying, certainly a lot less stressful than work related exams/qualifications. Questions should be covered by our attitude to safe flying, so that's no big deal. Don't understand the might not pass either, prepare right, take it when properly ready, If you're honest with yourself the when is easily judged.

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I think its a matter of testing YOURSELF i struggle to do decent rolls but i will practise till they look right. Thats the satisfication. A B certificate means my practise has shown my learning has been rewarded. Probably means nothing toanyone else other than competence. Still a good feeling.

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When was the last publication of the Handbook? The Cap numbers seem to have changed so many times its confusing trying to learn Cap 258 says this... but now its Cap XXX etc.

The Flying isn't my problem its the questions about the regs afterwards I find confusing.

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38 minutes ago, dave parnham said:

When was the last publication of the Handbook? The Cap numbers seem to have changed so many times its confusing trying to learn Cap 258 says this... but now its Cap XXX etc.

The Flying isn't my problem its the questions about the regs afterwards I find confusing.

If you are a BMFA member I suggest you start here https://rcc.bmfa.uk/ to get up to date with the latest regs.

Even if you are not a member it will help you.

You can now do the BMFA "RCC" on-line test (impossible to fail as you can just keep trying it) before the test instead of answering the "questions about the regs" during the test.

 

Dick

 

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Practicing for my B Certificate has given me something to aim for, has improved my flying skills considerably so far, and has impelled me to build a suitable model for the task - all for the pure personal pleasure and challenge of it rather than because its a prerequisite for anything else.

 

Having said that, it has also got me interested in flying classic aerobatics, for which there are half a dozen UKCAA events scheduled for this summer...

 

 

Edited by Jonathan M
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Jonathan,

 

I may well see you at some of them as I compete at those events, it's very friendly and there is no elitism.

Have you been to their website, http://www.ukcaa.org.uk/Default.aspx You will need to join to get a login to view the members page, the yearly sub is £10.00 so it won't break the bank.

The contest rules link doesn't seem to work but if you need the latest rules I could email you a copy.

 

Andy.

 

Worcester meeting 2019.

Image4.jpg

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I only took my B to allow me to fly at shows. My first club did not require the A for solo (we had a club level solo) so i didnt even do my A until about year before the B when my new club demanded it for solo. 

 

I see both good and bad in the B cert and many of the arguments have already been made. 

 

Pushing people to develop their flying and give them a goal is great and should be encouraged without a doubt, but people can push themselves and not need a certificate to gain suitable motivation. You know when you made an improvement so why worry if anyone else noticed. If the B helps with motivation then fine, but once you have it what then? I would always recommend people strive to improve for their own enjoyment rather than just to get to another level and then stop. 

 

However, there are issues. 

 

Using the B cert as a licence for public display flying or flying models over 7kg is not right in my view. You can pass a B cert with an acrowot foamy, but this has no relation to flying a 20lb warbird, or a tiger moth or something even more extreme like a turbine model. None of what is tested in the B demonstrates a level of skill with these other types of model and i use this example as it what happened to me. I did my B on a hangar 9 pulse 60, sailed through, and at shows i only fly warbirds and scale biplanes. The piece of paper made no difference to my flying skill, my approach to safety etc. 

 

This raises my other issue, in the many B cert pilots think they are the business now just because they have a piece of paper. This smugness often leads them to think they know it all and suffer egg on face moments when trying something new. 

 

I am not trying to poo poo the scheme, just saying that if you find it helps you then go for it, but if it means nothing to you personally then dont worry to much about it. 

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Interesting post Jon. Same pilot could turn up at a show requiring no B with a 20lb warbird, so it ain't the B cert at fault, that would be the pilot of said 20lb model. Shows are overseen by folk who've been around a while, they don't just rely on a piece of paper.

 

Smugness is not because they passed the B test, they were always smug, tricky things egos.

 

Achievement scheme is a good thing, reflects well on the BMFA that it's there, requires discipline and positioning to pass the tests, plus a good grounding of the rules/laws we fly under, however you can have ALL these things without ever taking a test, another good thing it's a voluntary one.

 

No certs needed at our fly ins. Why ? Because many a good pilot has none, and we don't wish to exclude them.

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1 hour ago, Jon - Laser Engines said:

Using the B cert as a licence for public display flying or flying models over 7kg is not right in my view. You can pass a B cert with an acrowot foamy, but this has no relation to flying a 20lb warbird, or a tiger moth or something even more extreme like a turbine model. None of what is tested in the B demonstrates a level of skill with these other types of model and i use this example as it what happened to me. I did my B on a hangar 9 pulse 60, sailed through, and at shows i only fly warbirds and scale biplanes. The piece of paper made no difference to my flying skill, my approach to safety etc. 

 

As has been said in posts above, the Achievement Scheme Tests are individual achievements.  The BMFA does not require members to hold an A cert to be allowed to fly solo unsupervised - that's what Clubs bring in.  As far as I'm aware, there is no display licence, but I could be wrong, but the B is certainly not a licence.  I think there is a display pilot log book now which enables CDs to sign off a pilot's display so others can gain an insight into a pilot's performance.  The B is a bit like an MoT certificate where the car passed with that examiner on that day!  It might fail a few days later.

 

The BMFA does require a B Certificate to fly at the Nats and for some competitions.  However, for display flying, were I to be the CD, I would want additional information other than the pilot had a B Cert before allowing them to fly in front of a paying audience.  Why?  I have seen quite a few pilots with B Certs who struggle to fly to that standard now.  The B Cert merely states, that at the time you took the test you were good enough to pass it.  Why a Display Organiser would take a B holder as being up to flying a display without some additional either personal or another CD's experience of seeing that pilot successfully fly that particular aircraft in a display is beyond me.  

 

Point is that you should think about what you want to do once you have got your B.  For some, it represents the achievement of a goal and they then allow the skills they developed to decay with time.  Even just flying the B schedule from time to time and practising those bits that seem to be getting a bit rusty is a good way of maintaining your hard won skills.  

 

Of course, there is more to the B than just flying the manoeuvres.  One needs to bone up on the legal requirements as well as general aeromodelling safety rules.  A lot of these are common sense but they still need to be taken on board and demonstrated during the test.  

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