The Bronze badge is the first significant milestone after going solo - and it’s the first step towards being able to fly cross country.
To qualify for the Bronze endorsement, the applicant must demonstrate an adequate level of theoretical knowledge, gliding experience, and safe piloting skills and airmanship ‘such that the successful outcome of a procedure or a manoeuvre should never seriously be in doubt’. [BGA]
Gaining the Bronze badge is a significant achievement as indicated by the requirements below:
Minimum age 14
50 solo flights
General skills test (spinning, stalling, circuits, speed control, launch failures etc.)
Theoretical knowledge test (multiple choice)
10 sections (Airmanship, Principles of Flight, Meteorology etc)
12 questions per section (minimum 9 correct answers per section)
Once you have the Bronze badge you can ‘enhance it’ with the Cross Country endorsement - which requires:
Minimum age 16
2 solo soaring flights (one lasting 1 hour and the other lasting 2 hours.) These must be ‘witnessed’ by an instructor.
Field selection and landing test - taken in the motor glider.
Navigation test (taken in a glider or motor glider - depending on conditions.)
Official BGA requirements can be found here.
Once you have Bronze + Cross Country then you can fly further than 5nm from the airfield. You can also convert your license into an EASA license. This allows you to fly in Europe and beyond and will (probably) be a requirement in the UK from April 2021. It also enables an easier transition in to the world of powered flying.
Bureaucracy aside - achieving Bronze will make you a much better (and safer) pilot. It’s a lot of work - but well worth the investment.
There is no specific order in which the requirements must be met - although it makes more sense to attempt the flying test once you have some experience under your belt.
You can take the theory test ANYTIME (even before going solo.) It’s worth doing this as soon as possible. Indeed, much of the theory will help improve your airmanship overall. Some of it is even quite interesting!
Once you decide to embark on the Bronze process you should download and print the application form, keep it with your log book and get the various sections signed off as you do them.
The flying test is pretty much what you had to demonstrate before going solo (lookout, circuit planning, speed control, spinning, stalling, cross-wind landings etc.) only this time you need to perform the various exercises ‘even better’. Speak to an instructor - they will tell you if you’ve honed your skills sufficiently. Remember you also need to have 50 solo flights under your belt - so there’s no rush!
When you are ready, seek out a Full Cat instructor and ask them to start evaluating your flying. It doesn’t need to be done in a single day - you just need to get each exercise ‘signed off to Bronze standard’ in your logbook.
The theory test has 10 sections, covering subjects like Airmanship, Principles of Flight, Meteorology etc. Each section has 12 multiple choice questions. You need to get 9 correct answers per section (i.e. you must be knowledgable on ALL subjects.) The syllabus can be downloaded from the BGA website (link below.) This will tell you what you need to know - but it won’t tell you the answers. For that, you need a copy of the ‘Bronze and Beyond’ book. This is dedicated to the Bronze Theory test. You can purchase a copy from the Office. There is a lot to know (and remember) - it’s not a test you can cram for the night before!
You need to apply to the CFI (John Norman) in order to sit the test. It takes 2-3 hours and you’ll sit it at the club.
The next scheduled date for the test will be:
Saturday 29th February 2020 (10am)
When applying, please include a brief summary of your current experience - flights/hours etc. If you can’t attend the above date, email us and we can try to arrange something more suitable.
Some additional resources to help:
Some (old - but still valid) EXAMPLE test questions
If you have any questions about the various sections then grab an instructor - they’ll be happy to help.
During the winter, we will organise some ‘lectures’ where specific sections of the Bronze syllabus will be delivered by people knowledgable in the subject. Ideally you will read the appropriate chapter in Bronze and Beyond prior to attending the lecture - then you can get answers to those questions not answered by the book (of which there are many!)