Safe Start

Advice to New Flyers Joining SMFC

Expectations and Procedures

In common with many model flying clubs, the SMFC Constitution requires all members to reach the “A” standard of the BMFA Flying Achievement Scheme to be permitted to use club sites without supervision. As well as basic flying skills, this ensures that flyers have an adequate understanding of essential Safety procedures and applicable Air Law. Members with minimal previous experience who are accepted to join as trainees should, in the first instance, seek instruction from one of the registered Club Instructors who will advise as required and supervise all initial stages of flight training. While it is optimal for one student always to fly with the same Instructor, realistically this will not always be possible and flexibility and understanding of different ways of Instructor/Student interaction will be needed.

Expectations and Procedures

In common with many model flying clubs, the SMFC Constitution requires all members to reach the “A” standard of the BMFA Flying Achievement Scheme to be permitted to use club sites without supervision. As well as basic flying skills, this ensures that flyers have an adequate understanding of essential Safety procedures and applicable Air Law. Members with minimal previous experience who are accepted to join as trainees should, in the first instance, seek instruction from one of the registered Club Instructors who will advise as required and supervise all initial stages of flight training. While it is optimal for one student always to fly with the same Instructor, realistically this will not always be possible and flexibility and understanding of different ways of Instructor/Student interaction will be needed.

Basic Guidelines

SMFC is an affiliated Club of the BMFA. Any training given will fall generally in line with the advice to be found in the BMFA “A Flying Start - Flight Training Manual” publication.


http://achievements.bmfa.org/guidance-booklets/a-flying-start


This may be found on the BMFA website and should be studied by all students. You are not expected to assimilate all this information on day one but there is much to study and a good background knowledge will significantly assist your understanding as flying progresses. Once basic flying skills have been mastered, your Instructor will increasingly add in the more general Safety considerations and the Legal requirements that apply when flying in UK airspace.

Liaison with your Instructor

It is often the case that students either fail to appear at an agreed time or turn up unannounced expecting their Instructor to be on-site and available. Not surprisingly, this leads to frustration and misunderstanding. It is important to keep in close contact with your Instructor, both to discuss weather forecasts and mutual availability.

Supervision, Progress, Continuity and Assessment

Every individual will progress at different rates and so the time taken to achieve the required “Safe-Solo” standard can vary extensively. Assuming that adequate practice opportunities are found, your aim should be to attempt the Achievement Scheme “A” test in your first year of membership. Continuity is significant in these early stages, so you should take every opportunity of getting airborne regularly whenever weather permits. Assuming your progress is steady, and you are seen to be learning positively from your (inevitable) mistakes, your Instructor may decide that you are nearing the stage where you could be permitted to fly unsupervised to make best use of your availability and that of the site for consolidation. The key area here is adherence to Site Safety Rules. Any assessment for ‘Safe Solo’ status will be made by someone other than your current Instructor, normally one of the Club Examiners who will discuss your progress with your Instructor(s) and may take you through a basic flying assessment. If the required standard is achieved, the Committee will be advised, and they may then issue the candidate with the authority to fly unsupervised for the rest of that season. Any constraints placed on you will be determined by your individual situation and should be observed until you complete the “A” test. A short period of consolidation under this relaxation should soon be followed up by an attempt at the test. If your formal BMFA test is not attempted and passed, any “Safe Solo” authorisation will expire at the beginning of the next membership period and must be reapplied for before being allowed to fly unsupervised again (see Note 2).

Note 1: Many students who reach the “Safe Solo” level should be very close to the required standard for an “A” test. It may be that the Examiner will determine that the flying is at the desired standard and the candidate could be invited to attempt the ‘real thing’ either on the same day or very soon thereafter.

Note 2: Like any hand-eye coordination task, piloting an aircraft is a ‘perishable skill’. After any extended nonflying period, even the most experienced flyers will need a period of “Back in the Saddle” practice before their Brain regains its former polish.

Testing

The BMFA Achievement Scheme details can be found on the National website and in your members Handbook (see Note). Test candidates are advised to study the relevant “Fixed Wing Power Certificates - Test standards for Chief examiners and Club examiners, Guidance for Test Candidates ” document before applying for a test. This document clearly outlines how the test will be conducted and the standards expected.

https://bmfa.org/Downloads/RC-Achievement-Scheme-Downloads?Command=Core_Download&EntryId=2021

 

Note: The BMFA Members’ Handbook and other guidance documents are always under review and are periodically updated to reflect the latest advice.

First Person View

Fixed wing or Rotary aircraft will be assessed in accordance with current BMFA guidelines. The award of ‘Safe Solo’ status within SMFC then allows the member to fly without needing to be supervised by an Instructor for the purposes defined above. This does NOT remove the ANO requirement for an assistant and to maintain direct, unaided sight of your model at all times.

Models other than IC or Electric propulsion

 

SMFC Examiners can conduct tests for model types other than “Power Fixed Wing”. If you wish to fly different types, please discuss these requirements with your Instructor, or before joining.

Airworthiness

 

Experienced members and your chosen Instructor will always advise on the most appropriate equipment and aircraft for you to use. This advice will vary between individuals because everyone has a very different flying history. The level of previous experience of the trainee (model or full-size) will also be relevant. While appropriate advice and guidance will always be forthcoming, when you come to the flying site, you should not expect your Instructor to be your mechanic. You should always aim to arrive with a fully serviceable model that has had all defects corrected and batteries fully charged. Attempting to conduct avoidable workshop procedures at the site will detract hugely from your own flying enjoyment and will tax the goodwill of others and their own flying time.

Airworthiness

 

Experienced members and your chosen Instructor will always advise on the most appropriate equipment and aircraft for you to use. This advice will vary between individuals because everyone has a very different flying history. The level of previous experience of the trainee (model or full-size) will also be relevant. While appropriate advice and guidance will always be forthcoming, when you come to the flying site, you should not expect your Instructor to be your mechanic. You should always aim to arrive with a fully serviceable model that has had all defects corrected and batteries fully charged. Attempting to conduct avoidable workshop procedures at the site will detract hugely from your own flying enjoyment and will tax the goodwill of others and their own flying time.

Personal approach

 

It is always possible that personal differences will occur from time to time. While criticism may sometimes feel harsh to a learner, this is always offered in good faith and is intended to steer you in the most effective direction to achieve your primary aim of safe flying. If you find that personal differences start to intrude on your enjoyment, remember that this is only a hobby. If you feel that you have a specific problem, please discuss it as soon as possible either with another Instructor or any member of the SMFC Committee. It is in everybody’s interest to resolve such matters without delay. In extremis, the Club Constitution contains advice for Grievance Procedures.

Personal approach

 

It is always possible that personal differences will occur from time to time. While criticism may sometimes feel harsh to a learner, this is always offered in good faith and is intended to steer you in the most effective direction to achieve your primary aim of safe flying. If you find that personal differences start to intrude on your enjoyment, remember that this is only a hobby. If you feel that you have a specific problem, please discuss it as soon as possible either with another Instructor or any member of the SMFC Committee. It is in everybody’s interest to resolve such matters without delay. In extremis, the Club Constitution contains advice for Grievance Procedures.

Personal approach

 

It is always possible that personal differences will occur from time to time. While criticism may sometimes feel harsh to a learner, this is always offered in good faith and is intended to steer you in the most effective direction to achieve your primary aim of safe flying. If you find that personal differences start to intrude on your enjoyment, remember that this is only a hobby. If you feel that you have a specific problem, please discuss it as soon as possible either with another Instructor or any member of the SMFC Committee. It is in everybody’s interest to resolve such matters without delay. In extremis, the Club Constitution contains advice for Grievance Procedures.

In Summary

 

While SMFC tends to concentrate on powered aircraft, model flying is an enjoyable hobby with many different ‘flavours’. SMFC will do all it can to enable you to benefit from this sport, but much will depend on your own positive input and study of more general Aviation subjects. Remember that everyone started at Zero knowledge and so will have sympathy with your initial inexperience. Nevertheless, you will be expected to learn from your mistakes and make every attempt not to repeat them. Instructors and Examiners expect no payment-in-kind other than to see that you keep an inquisitive mind and devote yourself to absorbing all the experience that you find around you. Happy Landings!

©2018 BY SALISBURY MODEL FLYING CLUB