At the last (and my first) instructors seminar (Feb 2019) Rob Mott from the BMAA presented a scheme called “Wings“. It has various levels Bronze through to Diamond, each level becomes progressively harder to achieve, thus challenging the pilot to further their skills in a number areas Safety, Flying Skills, Education and Navigation (flying to a predetermined route). To be honest, at the time of presentation of the programme I didn’t think I would have the time or the inclination to embark upon the programme. One wet non-flyable day I took a look at the scheme and decided I had the required training within the 24 month prior period, so as I only needed to do the flying I decided to go for my Bronze, thus if anyone at my club or through my blog or twitter account asks about the scheme I would have first-hand experience of the scheme.
The Bronze award requires one safety item, for me this was the BMAA first Aid training which I did a while ago and would highly recommend this life skill to everyone, and a cross country nav with one land away and one waypoint on each leg, total distance needs to be over 100NM, each waypoint needs to be 20NM or more from the point of departure. Come the day it was very blustery but, within limits, the conditions were challenging. To make it more interesting I thought I would throw in a zone transit as in my normal flying and instructing I don’t get to do many of these so it was a good opportunity to practice. All went to plan and thanks to Norwich ATC I got my zone transit which meant I would keep well to time. Document completed before the flight and filled in during flight, times totaled and the fuel estimate compared, I was within limits (+-20%) so I emailed the paperwork into the BMAA.
It taught me that my fuel estimate was under, not by much just 2lt but I was expecting it to be over, (I blame the headwind and having to increase my speed to meet the plan!) I now allow a little more than before, a valuable lesson learned. I also enjoyed planning and flying to the plan. So I thought I would give my Silver Award ago too. I was surprised just how accurate I was on this as it was double the mileage (200NM) and two land aways. I was very pleased with a 99% accuracy on my fuel this time and the fact it was 1lt over, much better than being under as I was for my Bronze!
I may go for my Gold but, with the cost of the extra training and the time to fly it, that may have to wait.
I really enjoyed doing the Bronze and the Silver award and have just two things I will be feeding back to the BMAA, the first is I think it would be good to be made to list and plan fuel for at least one alternative airfield and the second point would be on the Silver and above maybe the provision on the form for two or more waypoints.
I would recommend following the scheme to all but, especially new pilots.
Some pictures from my Silver award flight below: