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New Course - Mentor


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Another heads up on a new development.


After both listening and having had discussions with our PEs we have come to the conclusion that these needs to be a stepping stone between the PPG2 certification and AFI/QFI. This stone will be called the Mentor.

The Current situation

At the moment we have certified pilots (almost anyone that wants to lend a hand really) helping new pilots with ground handling and advice. Traditionally we have done this for each out of generosity of heart. However here are a couple of limitations in the system that bear a little consideration - Insurance and Standardisation being the most important.


We believe the untutored assistant is exposed if it came to a mishap or accident, perhaps someone being dragged or otherwise injured. We can raise our eyebrows but be sure that a litigating brief and his/her pointed questions could rather blow a hole in the suitability of a random club member assisting with ground handling. On who's direction was this 'training' taking place? What training did the 'instructor' have to fulfil that role? You can imagine ...


With the best will in the world a random club member may have limited knowledge of teaching and training techniques or the goals for an instructor in the early stages of paramotor training. Assistance on a busy flying day is vital if an instructor is to be effective in giving good training value to his trainees. Help is a godsend but the AFI or QFI wants ideally to take over a trainee from the ground handling field with few if any wrinkles to sort out before he can continue with further training towards flight.


So what are we suggesting?

'Field assistants' come in many guises but quite often they do what they do because they love to help and enjoy it. They may even aspire to instruct one day but feel they need a little more experience and exposure before they put themselves forward. A word we keep hearing when talking to prospective Candidate Instructors is 'credibility'. They feel they need it for themselves and others before they enrol in an Instructors course and rightly so.

So how about taking an active step in the right direction?

By completing the Core Instructor Skills module (CISM) and developing those skills during the course in the field, you will be placing yourself in a position to gain VALID training experience. When the time comes for you to enrol on an Instructors course you will feel very well prepared for it.

A Mentor on completion of training will be certified to train ground handling to the point where a motor is included in the GH process. He cannot brief or train anything beyond the point at which the trainee moves forward to launch. No motor related actions, no emergency procedures, simply wing preparation/packing/care with handling with the forward and reverse launch.

This course will be run in the UK, will last around three days. It will involve the full CISM and will include the practical art of teaching ground handling. We will be using undersized as well as standard wings so that the available wind 'window' will be potentially larger than for straight paramotoring.

On completion of the course the Mentor will be certificated and registered as such. He will not need to complete the CISM during any instructors course though he will need to sit the technical qualifying exam that comes at the close of the CISM.

So, ever wanted to gain some teaching and training skills? Want to help out and feel as though you know what you are talking about? Please express your interest here. norman@pfm-fts.com piers@pfm-fts.com


Your feedback is vital, tell us what you think please guys.

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Sounds like a great way of achieving several objectives.

Optimising productivity, creating a safer learning environment, teaching basic instructional skills and at the same time giving responisbility to those that are willing to help.

This should have a side benefit in that the 'Mentors' will also learn to become better pilots themselves as they are retaught and then because they are constantly inmersed in this more formal environment should 'practice what they preach'.

It will also help to portray a more professional operation, a great marketing tool!



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Pete, Mark, thanks for the feedback.

It is interesting. When I did my fixed wing instructors course they took our flying apart, made us wonder how we ever managed to stagger around the sky, then built us back into aviators again. Teaching after that was a continual learning process, it was never enough to be stumped by questions from the floor nor faced with a situation where we couldn't explain how to do something at least four or five different ways. Yes, teaching is a great way to learn. Sounds like you are going to really enjoy yours Mark.

PS: Really intrigued by your 'device'

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A bit more...

This was pointed out to me by both Paul and Piers after the last instructors course in France (recently as well during conversations around this subject). Where a Candidate Instructor had previous experience of teaching GH in the field, their confidence and acquired skill showed through at all levels of the instructors course.

Pete B was one of the characters being referring to, someone who initially thought himself an unlikely candidate (hope you don't mind Pete) but when he thought long and hard about it, and more to the point, got involved ... the more he enjoyed it. He did very well indeed.

What the Mentor Course does is develop that advantage. The CSM part provides teaching and learning theory along with presentation practice. The practical bit that follows takes the theory, gives it physical shape and creates a fledgling instructor in the form of a Mentor. The rest is pure experience.

Most pilots can help out with ground handling, many do it now. What a Mentor can do is perform that task much more effectively. Having had the foundation training in instructional techniques, his progression onward to instructor is merely a natural step, not a leap. Helping others into the air is really very rewarding, one of the best I came across was 'Bootneck123'. He knows who he is. ;-) Sadly he doesn't paramotor any more due to age and infirmity. LOL

He means her as well of course.

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  • 1 month later...
This should have a side benefit in that the 'Mentors' will also learn to become better pilots themselves ...

Mark (CageUK)

Just picking up on Mark's comment above about the power of teaching as an aid to learning. This graphic is used during the CSM as an illustration of a number of things but look at where teaching sits in the scheme of things...

If you teach - you learn big time.


A point to note, Mentors do not charge for their service, they do it for the love of the sport and the desire to help people make it into the air. We keep the cost of the Mentors course to an absolute minimum to help them along.

More info to follow...

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