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What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

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What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

Old 03-03-2008, 09:37 PM
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Lucky Dog
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Default What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

I am charged with developing a set of criteria that (if implemented) would be required of any member (and perhaps guests) wanting to fly from our field. For the record, it is my idea to have some sort of minimum qualifications in place, and "everyone" would be required to do these. There has been some debate over what a flier should be able to perform to pass a "basic" test. Some feel that to be able to take-off, fly a circuit and land should be adequate. To me, it's all about safety, and preserving our field, and those maneuvers alone would not indicate to me that a person is fully capable of safely flying. I have looked around at a couple of clubs for ideas on this. I don't want this to become a bureaucratic headache, and I don't want to keep folks from flying. I just want to be reasonably assured that a person is not going to endanger himself or those around him, and risk possibly loosing the field.

My thoughts are to require (as a minimum):

1. Perform a pre-flight check of aircraft and radio equipment.
2. Know and exhibit proper field behavior concerning flying boundaries and courtesy, pit conduct and use of the frequency board.
3. Prepare aircraft for flight and start/tune engine.
4. Take-Off and Landing (2-3X)
5. Fly a left hand pattern
6. Fly a right hand pattern
7. Figure Eight
8. Slow Flight

Some other clubs also (or instead of) require:
Simulated dead-stick landing
Figure 8s in both directions
Exhibit controlled flight by a series of left and right turns.
Stall and recovery
....And I'm sure that their are others.

Once again, this is about flying safely at the field, not about putting the screws to folks who are beginning or unskilled pilots (or making them feel inadequate). There would also be in place a training program to help fliers who were not capable of these basic manuevers to help them become better and safer fliers.

So, what are your thoughts? Do you have a program like this in place in your club? If not, would you think it would be a good idea? Do you think it's too much to ask?

I look forward to your feedback.

Cheers,
Mike Bealmear
www.bcrcfliers.org
Old 03-03-2008, 09:54 PM
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Rcpilot
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

Basic pilot proficiency should be a requirement at all fields. At my club, you cannot fly alone until you get checked out by an instructor or go through the training program and get officially soloed to fly alone.

I think what you have listed is good. You'll need to have an appointed person to administer the test.

One thing to add:
Perform 6 or 7 touch and goes and land on the last one.
At any time during the touch and go test, the instructor will tell the student to "go around/abort" when less than 10' off the runway and on final approach.

This simulates an emergency situation where you may be about to land and somebody on the flight line would announce a deadstick. In that situation--the pilot on final should abort and clear the runway for the deadstick plane.
Old 03-03-2008, 10:25 PM
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PLANE JIM
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

and do all this blindfolded-give me a break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Old 03-03-2008, 10:35 PM
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outdoorhunting
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

The "rules" are only as good as the person Checking out the new member !!! I'm a intermediate pilot NOT advanced. I went to a local club & was told I had to be "checked out" OK that's great I said. I went through all of the procedures, pre-flite, start, taxi ,etc. On my 2nd pass the "instructor" that let me know to begin with that he was prob. the "best pilot in the club" reached over & flipped my trim on my TX and said," now recover". Long story short-- I did recover,I did land, I did load my stuff up, I DID TELL him where he could put their club & their "rules". I guess I'm saying just don't get carried away !!! I have told EVERYBODY that I know in RC what he did & as far as I know htat "club has lost around 6 new potentail members !!
Old 03-03-2008, 11:14 PM
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JPMacG
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

Don't get carried away with the requirements. Some clubs seem to have full-scale envy - they want to give their new members a private pilot's flight test.

If a new clubmember can take off, fly a 'standard' pattern (right hand or left hand, whichever is 'normal' for the field, but not both), and land on a calm day without endangering anyone or his plane he is good to go in my opinion. Once he solos he will improve on his own. You can't expect someone to fly with an instructor for months while they work on wind-compensated figure 8s and perfect cross-wind landings. That is not fair to the student or to the instructor.
Old 03-04-2008, 07:06 AM
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Lucky Dog
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

ORIGINAL: PLANE JIM

and do all this blindfolded-give me a break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
No, don't think we'll require blindfolds at any given point. Maybe eye patches for Pirates Day to test depth perception.

Thanks for the "helpful" feedback from the rest of you. Keep it coming.

Thanks.
Old 03-04-2008, 07:09 AM
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Roby
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

Lucky dog,

From time to time this subject comes up at the club I
belong to. I do support such requirements but only to
a certain point. Unfortunately some people do tend to
go off the deep end,(with good intentions but unrealistic)
in the name of safety.

It seems to me that the program you outlined is quite
reasonable and should work in most cases depending
on the type of club you have.

Regards,
Roby
Old 03-04-2008, 09:08 AM
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TLH101
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

You left off the very most important thing from your list:
"DO NOT forget, it's just a hobby."
Old 03-04-2008, 09:50 AM
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PLANE JIM
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

Well I am trying to be helpful!- If you do the pirate look, make sure you have perspective club member wear the patch on the the dominant eye and stand on one foot unless he only has one leg with his arms behind his back operating the transmitter.

Please note-If the guy only has one leg and it is a wooden peg (watch out) he probaly cannot fly.
Old 03-04-2008, 10:26 AM
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depfife
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

All fields are different. A lightly used field surrounded by open land may be able to safely operate without the same rules as a busy field with nearby hazards.

Good luck with the decision.
Old 03-04-2008, 10:29 AM
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Lucky Dog
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

Plane Jim,
We'll probably have to also wait for "Talk Like A Pirate" day to really do it right.

Thanks for your feedback Jim.

Mike
Old 03-04-2008, 10:38 AM
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Red Scholefield
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

Here is what the BMFA requires for "A" certificate:

a) Carry out pre-flight safety checks as required by the BMFA Safety Codes, starting the engine
when appropriate
b) Take off and complete a left (or right) hand circuit and overfly the take-off area
c) Fly a ‘figure of eight’ course with the cross-over point in front of the pilot, height to be constant
d) Fly a rectangular circuit and approach with appropriate use of the throttle and perform a
landing on the designated landing area.
e) If the engine stops during the landing the model may be retrieved and the engine restarted to
enable the remaining parts of the test to be completed.
f) Take off and complete a left (or right) hand circuit and overfly the take-off area
g) Fly a rectangular circuit at a constant height in the opposite direction to the landing circuit
flown in (d).
h) Perform a simulated deadstick landing with the engine at idle, beginning at a safe height
(approx. 200 ft) heading into wind over the take-off area, the landing to be made in a safe
manner on the designated landing area.
i) Remove model and equipment from take-off/landing area.
j) Complete post-flight checks required by the BMFA Safety Codes.
k) Answer correctly a minimum of five questions on safety matters, based on the BMFA Safety
Code for General Flying and local flying rules.
Old 03-04-2008, 10:45 AM
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

All these rules are great for the new members that join your club, but what about guests that want to fly. What if the man that has to do the checking can't come to the field. Does the guest just leave? What about fly-ins, what to check out all the pilots?. Once while I was on the road I stopped at a field to fly and was told that I had to fly on the buddy box before I could fly on my own. They called him to come to the field. In the mean time I started to unload my 46% Ultimate. Needless to say he had no idea what to do. They all backed away and let me fly. After the first flight everything was fine.
Safety at the field is a good thing, but to many rules can get in the way. If we have a guest at out field we ask if he needs any help and then watch what he does. You can alway tell if he knows what he's doing real quick.
If you want your members that are new to meet certain standards make them very basic and let him grow in his skills. Help when it is needed. If the new member is flying and is in no danger of hurting anyone leave him alone and let him have fun.
The skills that you state will already will already be demo'd during the training period, so why the test? KISS and simple is the key to a safe club. Every body has a different level of skills and the good pilot knows when he is pushing his limit. Dennis
Old 03-04-2008, 12:17 PM
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carrellh
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

Something like this comes up at our club every couple of years.

It's fine if it applies to everyone but that's never how it is. It's always only for "new guys" or some other criteria.

My thought is, if you set this up, every member needs to go through it. Even if Mike McConville (or some other well known pilot) is in your club, he should go through this evaluation before he is allowed to continue flying at your field. If he's not a member, and shows up to fly as a guest, he should have to prove himself before he can fly.

I'm a believer in safety but I also believe in taking someone's word if they come in and say they're an experienced pilot. If they're not, it will show.
Old 03-04-2008, 12:50 PM
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Lucky Dog
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

Great insight gentleman. Much appreciated.

Keep it coming folks!

We do have a unique situation where a guest would almost always be accompanied by a member (a locked gate, that must remain so even when we're flying, except for few hours each Satuday).

Old 03-04-2008, 12:56 PM
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Red Scholefield
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

After reading thes posts I wonder if we are acting like our "government", looking for a problem to fit our solution.
Old 03-04-2008, 01:15 PM
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

The Club has a required check out for a new or visiting pilot. A visitor comes, but no check pilot is there. The members present confirm his capability and he is allowed to fly. During a flight maybe something other than pilot skills (might have been radio fault) causes the plane to go out of control and crash into one of the parked cars, not his (my scenario does not included morbid injury, thankfully). AMA reviews the incident and determines that the Club's safety requirements were not followed. Will they cover, or not?

The more safety requirements you put into force, the more avenues of complexity and touble you bring on yourselves.

Just a thought.

Bedford
Old 03-04-2008, 03:06 PM
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

our flying field is rather discreet with few new members annually (infact, i was the only new member last year!) but the rules still apply for all pilots:

1: Never fly over the pits, cars, people or behind you

2: dont be afraid to ask for help

3: Beginners without an A certificate must have an instructor present when flying, buddy boxing is optional

4: If in doubt - give it a clout (... actually thats just my little ruler :P)
Old 03-04-2008, 05:26 PM
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

Jesh, too complicated for me. Looks like about 93% of the fun has been taken out.. It's RC flying , we don't carry passengers!! I know, different clubs have different requirments, but all those rules,-- don't it kinda take some of the fun out of it. At our club, when a new member comes out, they must do it with an experienced pilot or our Safety Officer All rules are posted, they must read them & ask questions if needed. They then must go through the usual, pre-flite- range check- start engine( it's hard to finish the rest of the test without this one) & then they show us if they can fly. If they have trouble ,,whoever is with them will help get them going. If that don't work we have them get with an instructor. If they want to do a figure 8, that's OK. I guess we are very lucky, we have 32 members & in the three years I've been a member I have NEVER heard a person denied help of any kind. That's my 2 cents
Old 03-04-2008, 06:30 PM
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

All this sounds good but how do you insure that those that pass your test are safe fliers?
At one of the clubs I fly at one pilot who has flow for a few years and claims to be one of the best has had more crashes than anyone else in the club.
Old 03-04-2008, 07:38 PM
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outdoorhunting
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

Maybe he is trying to do a lot of different stuff with his planes. Just because he crashes don't mean he's not a good pilot. I know I've had my share of crashes trying to do stuff that the plane might not have been designed for, or maybe experience wise I wasn't quite ready to do. It's called pushing the envelope. It don't mean it's wrong. Most really good pilots fly many, many hours more than the normal pilot. That exposes him more to have crashes. How else does one get to be a better pilot.
Old 03-04-2008, 07:44 PM
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mandtra
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

I'm for safe flying as much as anybody and agree everyone needs to be checked out prior to being cut loose to fly on there own. But if you know all the basic preflight checks and can take off , fly and land in both directions. Thats a solo. And that is basic skills.
Old 03-04-2008, 07:47 PM
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

I would not disagree with you except in this case. He is one who believes rules are for the other guy. Seems to have achip on his shoulder all the time.
Old 03-04-2008, 08:29 PM
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R/C Art
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

Mike,

What you are really talking about here is safety. Safety is not a set of rules or a certain skill level, but rather an attitude. Making good decisions.......
some of the most skilled people are notorious for conduct which endanges others.....both in the air and on the ground.

I personally subscribe to the KISS Principle. Keep It Simple Stupid.

Ama's safety rules are the minimum requirements at any field........and much of the time the most that are needed.

It seems to me that a basic "can a pilot demonstrate take off, traffic pattern to landing and then landing" should be sufficient for any flying field.

I think what beepee said in post #17 has a lot of merrit.

To sum it up, a basic flight training program for people new to the hobby culminating with a set of wings and a check flight for experienced new members.

Remember, opinions are like armpits - we all have them and everybody elses smells.

Cheers,
Art
Old 03-04-2008, 09:25 PM
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carps
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Default RE: What Are "Minimum" Flying Skills?

Mike,

This "problem" is a continuing one throughout the modelling world.

Here in Australia we have developed a series of procedures that are nationally based.

The minimum standard is Bronze wings and covers the basics that you are asking about.

Thie next one is Gold Wings and allows pilots to fly in displays etc.

Due to it being a national system it is accepted that if you have your wings and your MAAA card which has the qualification on it most clubs that you are visiting will let you fly.

Also due to it being a national system all new pilots start off with the national training system and graduate to their wings.

With this system in place we get very few complaints.

There are in our sport many people that do not wish to adhere to the system and therefore we also cater to them by having all publications or displays requiring that all Pilots have Gold Wings or are able to demonstrate their ability to achieve this standard before being used in displays etc.

for more information on this and many other areas, eg Pilot training , public displays etc. please refer to our national web site and see what other gems are in there.

http://www.maaa.asn.au/

Regards

Bob.

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