The new LAA Wings Award Scheme, designed ‘to improve the skill levels of private pilots by encouraging life-long learning’ has been endorsed by the UK Civil Aviation Authority as part of the Pilot Recognition for Operational Up-skilling and Development (PROUD) scheme.
Announced at the LAA Rally at Sywell on Saturday 5 September, the new initiative from the association’s Pilot Coaching Scheme is aimed at both members and other pilots as a route to helping improve safety. One of the key drivers of the CAA PROUD initiative is to close individual skills gaps and also to help tackle the high drop-out rate amongst recently qualified PPLs, many of whom lack confidence and motivation. The LAA Wings scheme encourages the development of pilot knowledge, skills and attitudes by offering a series of challenges and activities to broaden pilots’ activities and interests; create additional skills via further training and qualification, encourage personal development and flight safety awareness, and set extended navigational challenges.
The LAA Wings award scheme is open to all qualified pilots of aeroplanes or rotorcraft, and support will be provided by members of the LAA Pilot Coaching Scheme. There are three categories of LAA Wings award against which criteria are set. Each award requires completion of minimum flight times, achievements, safety event attendance and an extended navigational challenge to gain the requisite Bronze, Silver, or Gold Wings.
“Pilots can start their LAA Wings adventure with training toward Bronze Wings as soon as they qualify, with a view to applying for their award when they have gained 100 hours flight time,” an LAA spokesman tells Pilot. Among the achievements required will be a cross-country flight of 200nm with two intermediate stops.
Those aiming higher for the Silver Wings award will require 250 hours flight time (200 hours as P1) and among the requirements is a 400nm navigation challenge. The LAA Gold Wings award will demonstrate the highest commitment to excellence, based on a minimum of 500 hours flying time, achievement of a series of pre-determined challenges and a 600nm navigation exercise including four intermediate stops.