The AOPA Mentoring Scheme
The AOPA Mentoring Scheme aims to stem the drift of pilots away from general aviation, encourage them to take on new challenges and help them progress up the skills ladder.
Sounds like you are the ideal candidate to be an AOPA UK registered VFR Mentee.
Or, you are a confident pilot with the experience to pass on you knowledge to fellow pilots in a non-instructional environment as an AOPA UK VFR Mentor.
For both groups of pilot, the AOPA Members Working Group has now turned an idea into reality and the AOPA UK VFR Mentoring Scheme is open for business.
The Mentoring Scheme will put Mentees in touch with the nearest Mentor, who will be an experienced pilots on whom they can call informally for advice and assistance and give the uncertain pilot the confidence to tackle a flight they would not otherwise attempt. At its most basic, this might be a matter of being accompanied on a land-away by someone who has been there before.
AOPA will oversee the scheme and ensure mentoring standards are maintained. It is NOT an instructional scheme, rather it is an informed buddy-system. No flight will take place under the scheme if the Mentor believes that a flight with an instructor is the correct option.
At all times the Mentee will be PIC and all mentoring flights will be conducted within the privileges and completed training experience of the Mentee.
However, for a mentoring flight to be undertaken BOTH parties have to agree that any planned flight can be conducted both legally and safely.
It’s a simple sounding concept but much work has gone into establishing the basics, not least in terms of potential liability and limits of responsibility. Unfortunately, mitigating the identified risks to protect Mentor and AOPA has made the scheme more formal than we would have liked. Read the guidelines here.
So what will a mentoring flight be?
Well, an example of a VFR mentoring flight could be a trip from a UK airfield to an airfield in France for lunch. This would require the mentee to plan and execute the flight with appropriate guidance from the mentor. This type of flight would give the mentee an opportunity to prepare for subsequent AOPA Wings Scheme achievements and would certainly build confidence and keep the fun in his flying.
Another example might be of a pilot who has just undertaken differences training on a complex single and would feel more confident initially building hours with a more experienced Mentor.
Or, you've had that Garmin 430 in the aircraft for ages but still haven't got to grips with it. A Mentor with a better knowledge of the kit could be an asset in the air, not least as a safety pilot while you get to try the functions for yourself, could be just what you are looking for.
Or you would like to build confidence and fly round and through, with clearance, controlled airspace.
The Mentor might be required to provide advice on everything from document review to Customs and Special Branch clearances, weight and balance, weather, NOTAMs, flight planning, correct RT, fuel drawbacks, range and endurance, lost procedures – anything that helps keep a pilot from infringing controlled airspace is especially vital at this time.
Depending on the Mentor’s skills and strengths he or she might provide help with farm strip flying, noise reduction, flying into major airports, or a hundred other issues.
AOPA have set minimum standards of knowledge and experience for Mentors, so Mentees can be assured that they are being mentored by a suitably experienced pilot, who may also hold an instructor rating.
Are you up for it? If there is a local scheme listed at the end of this article please make contact with the relevant scheme. Otherwise please see: Become a Mentee.
If you want to see the coverage of Mentors by airfield take the Mentor Location Map menu option.
Thank you for you interest. We hope to see you soon.
We would be interested to hear from Flying Schools/Clubs who can see the merits of this scheme and would be interested to support and run it within their organisation. AOPA UK would be happy to help you get the scheme up and running and support its' continued operation. We can also promote your support through your contact details on this website. Please get in touch to let us know you are interested. Contact the Office through this link.
Below is a list of Corporate Members who have introduce a local Mentoring Scheme based on the AOPA framework. If you are looking for a mentor at any of these locations please contact the relevant Corporate Member.
White Waltham (EGLM)