in Aerospace

Honourable Company of Air Pilots celebrates best of military and civilian aviation

Posted 13 September 2018 · Add Comment

The world-famous Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team – better known as the Red Arrows – is to be recognised for more than five decades of excellence when team members receive an award from the Honourable Company of Air Pilots next month.

The Air Pilots’ annual Trophies and Awards are among the industry’s most prestigious because recipients are selected by their peers, who have experience in military and civil aviation around the globe. They will be presented at London’s Guildhall on Thursday 25th October.

This year the top Award of Honour, goes to the Red Arrows in recognition of the team’s enduring contribution to excellence in aviation. For more than 50 years the aerobatic team has been performing both in the UK and abroad, making them globally famous and often performing before millions of people during the course of their season.

The Red Arrows are also regarded as ambassadors for the UK and they have, for so many years, been one of the most visible examples of British expertise in the field.

Also receiving a separate award this year will be RAF Squadron Leader Mike Ling, who flies as Red 3 within the Red Arrows. Sqn Ldr Ling was recalled to the team for the 2018 season following a tragic accident – he spent nine years with the Red Arrows previously. But it is for his role in promoting the best of British science, engineering and education around the world that this award seeks to recognise, including his tireless dedication to using social media to highlight the work of the team, often with eye-catching photography.

All this has helped make Sqn Ldr Ling one of the most recognised faces on the air display circuit and for his dedication to duty, support for the Red Arrows and promoting the ‘Best of British’ abroad, he is awarded the Master’s Commendation.

Another stalwart of the UK flying display scene, Roger ‘Dodge’ Bailey is also a recipient of an award this year, the inaugural Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown Memorial Trophy named for the famous Royal Navy flier and test pilot who died during 2018.

Bailey was an RAF pilot on the C-130 Hercules before attending the Central Flying School to train as a Qualified Flying Instructor after the US Air Force Test Pilot School. Today he is best known for managing the flying at the Shuttleworth Collection of historic aircraft. He was instrumental in keeping the Collection’s machines in the air following the tragic crash at Shoreham when he adapted flying procedures to secure the necessary permissions required.

Another test pilot receiving an award this year is Liveryman Frank Chapman, who receives the Derry and Richards Memorial Award to recognise his dedication contribution to aircraft design, development and flight testing, both military and civilian. After leaving the RAF’s frontline having flown Harrier and Phantom jet fighters, Chapman trained with the French test pilot school before going on exchange with the US Air Force as a test pilot.

He flew Airbus A320 and A330s for airline Monarch before being recruited by Airbus and joined the flight test team in Toulouse as an experimental test pilot. He has displayed the A350 and A380 at air shows and also flies for the Shuttleworth Collection in his spare time.

Display flying was always in the blood of Lee Proudfoot, who receives the Hanna Trophy for his skill, precision, flair and passion. He first started flying at air shows in 1988 and swiftly moved to vintage aircraft, where he was quickly rated as outstanding for both his displays but also for safety and a sympathetic appreciation for the age of the aircraft. He has displayed many different types, from Spitfires and Hurricanes to Wildcat, Bearcat, Hellcat and Thunderbolt to the Mustang and Blenheim. He has more than 12,000 hours in more than 60 types in his logbook but remains modest and not given to extravagance in anyway.

The Honourable Company of Air Pilots The Air Pilots was established as the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators (GAPAN) in 1929. It is based in London but has an internationally based membership of professional and private pilots. The principal activities of the organisation are centred on developing action and activities to ensure that aircraft are piloted and navigated safely by aviators who are highly competent, self-reliant, dependable and respected.

The Grand Master of the Air Pilots, His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, Duke of York and his father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh who is Patron, are both pilots and actively supported the recent grant of the Royal Charter. In addition, both the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry are qualified helicopter pilots, making the Air Pilots unique among City of London livery companies in having active Royal participation in its profession.

A full list of awards recipients is available here



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