These new developments all come into effect from this April onwards.
The principle changes are;
- The introduction of a new, dedicated, Achievement Scheme Handbook
- The introduction of the Basic Proficiency Certificates for fixed wing & rotorcraft fitted with stabilisation technologies
- The Introduction of an FPV Extension to existing certificates
- The introduction of additional, mandatory, air-law based questions to all achievement scheme tests.
For the first time, the New AS Handbook will allow all of the achievement scheme materials to appear in the same publication.
The Guidance Documents will appear as Appendices in the new handbook, and the ‘A’ & ‘B’ test guidance for fixed wing power, helicopters and multi-rotors have been combined. This makes each Appendix a handy stand-alone reference booklet for the relevant discipline.
Please note that ALL achievement scheme materials will be removed from the next publication of the BMFA Handbook.
The bulk of the new test guidance documents are now available on the BMFA web site, and the remainder will follow shortly. See https://www.bmfa.org/Downloads/RC-Achievement-Scheme-Downloads
Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the new guidance and tests before ‘going live’.
The flying elements of the new Basic Proficiency Certificates are the same as the ’A’ certificate, for the relevant discipline.
Please note that there is a specific test form for the BPC, which can be downloaded from the BMFA website downloads page. If the use of a downloadable test form proves to be successful, this may well be implemented for all other test forms in the future. BPC TEst forms can be downloaded from https://www.bmfa.org/Downloads/RC-Achievement-Scheme-Downloads
Whether you take a BPC or a conventional ‘A’ cert will depends entirely on what model you present with for the test, for example for the fixed wing power tests;
- If you present with a model without an undercarriage, you will take a BPC.
- If you present with a model that is less than 1kg, you will take a BPC, (irrespective of whether it has stabilisation or not).
- If you present with a model with stabilisation, you will take a BPC (irrespective of mass).
- If you present with a model without stabilisation and greater than 1kg, you will take an ‘A’.
The FPV Extension isn’t yet published (but is anticipated shortly) as we are still engaged in a dialogue with the special interest group.
The introduction of mandatory questions based on the legal framework for sports and recreational flying has sparked some interesting feedback. The result has been the publication of model answers for each question and also some additional guidance to examiners (see below and the relevent standards booklets). However, it’s important to appreciate that a significant element of the rationale behind the introduction of these questions is to demonstrate that we take a responsible approach to our flying, it should also be remembered that all the mandatory questions could already have been asked as part of the tests so candidates are not being asked to learn anything new.
Examiners should only ask 5 questions and if the candidate does not know the answer to any question the test will be considered a fail.
Examiners are expected to select questions that are appropriate to the test being taken, however candidates should familiarise themselves with all of the questions on the list.
Candidates are not expected to be “word perfect” with their answers but they should be able to demonstrate that they are fully aware of the legal controls for model aircraft flying. For example, if a candidate gives the answer to Question 4 (What does article 138 of the ANO state?) when asked Question 3 (What does article 137 of the ANO state?) it is likely they are aware of both answers and the examiner should point out they have answered the wrong question and ask for the correct answer.
Individual letters have been sent to all Area Chief Examiners detailing these changes. All Areas are being encouraged to include briefings and discussions on the above, in the Examiner / Instructor workshops they are organising for the coming year. In addition, the Scheme Controller will be organising a number of workshops nationally to further brief Area Co-ordinators and ACEs/ACIs.