Tuesday 18 June 2013 05:06 UTC
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After much frustration, having moved at a faster pace to get Mentors in place than the deliberations on Insurance and Legal issues were able to progress, the AOPA VFR Mentoring Scheme is now fully ready for take off!
We have a practical and workable scheme, with minimal bureaucracy attached.
There are VFR Mentors in place at many locations ready to receive enquiries from Mentees, which we are short of.
The basic purpose of the scheme is to help low hours pilots extend their flying experience and hopefully help keep them flying by giving them the opportunity to access more qualified and experienced pilots to fly with as mentors.
The scheme also offers more experienced pilots help when they have recently completed differences training and would welcome the opportuinity to practice those new skills alongside a more experienced and qualified pilots.
To find out more see http://www.aopa.co.uk/scripts/mentee.php which gives full details of the scheme and allows you to register your interest in being a Mentee under the AOPA VFR Mentoring Scheme.
How do you become a mentor?
Use email please rather than PMs
For information about my services (including aviation medicals) click this link
****Now also at Booker Airfield (High Wycombe) http://booker.aircrewmedicals.org *****
It's a brilliant concept, but I fear it's lost its way in the bureaucracy somewhere.
I sent off my form, and was told that I now need instruction in the art of being a mentor. In the absence of AOPA mentees, I've not rushed to do that in case I go out of mentor currency again before it happens.
Moderatio in omnibus
I thought the point was simply that experienced flyers went up with inexperienced ones like me to enable the inexperienced one to gleen knowledge etc.. That would have taken longer or not happened at all I.e a trip to France or something simlar that you wouldn't dare doing due to lack of experience.
It seems a shame that the concept may have been lost in bureaucracy that may put off experienced flyers.
PPL (A) 25/08/09 - Sadly rating now lapsed
I went to the White Waltham briefing day while Timothy was active in promoting the idea, it was very good. Unfortunately all then stopped due insurance, but since that was solved I'm a cerificated mentor, just need a mentee now........
Extremely grumpy PPL/IR
Having just downloaded and speed read the 23 page (23 PAGE!!!) guide, I have to agree with Keef. All that's being done here is to slightly formalise the age-old tradition of more experienced PPLs flying with less experienced ones and passing on some of their expertise and enthusiasm. But now we have to register, attend courses, notify insurance companies and all manner of other things that completely remove any spontaneity.
It's a bit like outdoor activities with kids these days. When I were a lad we'd just go and do a night's camping or whatever on the spur of the moment because it was a nice evening and it seemed like a fun idea. Nowadays even the most trivial of exercises has to be risk assessed and signed off by a bewildering array of bureaucratic busybodies. Net result... it doesn't happen. Or at least it doesn't happen with anything like the frequency that it did in the past.
I fear the same thing will happen with this scheme. Fortunately, in this case, the remedy is in our own hands - we just continue on an informal basis as we always have.
G-JONL - Sportcruiser
Diary of a Sportcruiser kit aircraft builder and flyer
Wouldn't it be good if we could get someone to give a talk on the subject and AOPA at the Duxford PPL day!
Blissfully crawling very slowly through a man made ditch somewhere in the UK
Well yes, of course that is true but I see little in the AOPA programme that addresses that specific issue. I suppose my main point is that mentoring isn't something that is planned for in a detailed sort of way. It tends to be more a case of one (newish) pilot chatting to another (more experienced on whatever the matter might be) and the two then deciding to fly together on an ad hoc basis for a sortie or two that relates to the inexperienced pilot's needs.
For example, I have done lots of flying with others that are nervous of grass strips, controlled airspace, mountain flying and so on. Seldom do these sorties amount to more than an hour or so before the "mentee" has the confidence he needs to go it alone. This sort of spontaneity seems to be difficult to achieve in the AOPA scheme, which is more oriented around a much more formal and long term relationship. Even if I were to become a mentor, I cannot imagine anyone at my flying club putting their name down as a mentee, as it seems to imply a distinct level of incompetence (which may be the case, notwithstanding).
The cynical amongst us might also wonder if a primary driver for the AOPA mentor programme is to increase AOPA membership and take up of the Wings scheme
G-JONL - Sportcruiser
Diary of a Sportcruiser kit aircraft builder and flyer
I wonder why I feel that all we get is flack on this.
The scheme was originally intended to be simple and flexible, with next to no bureaucracy. At the time it was proposed many suggested that there was no way such a scheme could work in the UK as everyone would be sued if/when things went wrong.
AOPA UK took the view that the scheme had merit and spent considerable time, and cost, to obtain proffessional advice on the legal and insurance liabilities that could arise and how these could be minimised, or even removed. This advice has been taken on board and the result has been a somewhat heavier, more formal scheme than hoped for, but which people can take or leave. There is nothing to stop people continuing with flying as a friend in the right hand seat, who just happens to be a (probably more experienced) pilot. But this arrrangement could be exposed to potential liabilities that have been covered by the more formal AOPA scheme.
So, warts and all, the scheme as described in the latest "23 page - oh gosh!" guide is the AOPA UK scheme, open to any interested party that meet the requirements set - including AOPA Membership and Wings Awards.
Yes, we are looking for a scheme that can develop into a lasting flying relationship between Mentor and Mentee, with the Awards scheme offering a defined improvement path for pilots. But, if it is only a one off arrangement, so long as it achieves any desired objectives that also works under the scheme.
If the scheme doesn't work for you, by all means develop your own. You can even make as much, or as little, use of the leg-work already done by AOPA UK.
All Mentors that have attended an Induction Workshop (NOT Instructional as suggested) and any that have applied to become Mentors have been emailed with updates. Email systems are not 100% reliable (just read some of the forums about missing emails) so anyone who hasn't received any updates should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
There will certainly be people at Duxford to talk to in detail about the Mentor Scheme and AOPA UK. There is also a question and answer session at the end of the Seminar.
But, we thought the wider audience would be much more interested in the bigger issues facing GA, which is why we are pleased to have Eric Sivell and Ben Alcott in attendance. A unique opportunity to meet these people in the flesh.
In short, the answer is no.
We have one Mentee going through the process, which includes getting the "AOPA Mentor Scheme" Aircraft Insurance clause added (which should be free of charge and shouldn't affect premiums). This clause provides for extension of the aircraft insurance cover to include Mentor and AOPA UK within its limits of cover. Flying with a mate who happens to be a pilot, in reality for mentoring (confidence building) purposes, doesn't have any such protection.
Having taken legal and insurance advice, we have had to incorporate such advice into the way that the scheme works. This has made it a much more formal process than we had hoped, but with the benefit of covering potential liabilities.
So if anyone reading this has been put off from becoming a Mentee, please respond and tell us why.
I will post when we have had the first flight!
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