The Honourable Company of Air Pilots incorporating Air Navigators

The Australian Bicentennial Award


Awarded as an ongoing commemoration of the Australian Bi-Centenary, to recognise an outstanding individual contribution to Australian aviation.


2018 awarded to:  Wing Commander Ian Mallett DFC RAAF(retd)


Ian Mallett retired from the Royal Australian Air Force in the late 1980s, having flown transport aeroplanes (Lockheed Hercules) and the Boeing 707 VIP Transport, and being involved in the development of advanced navigation systems for military aviation.

Ian MallettOn retirement from the RAAF, Ian Mallett joined the then-Civil Aviation Authority in the role of Airways Surveyor, with responsibility for navigation procedures and aircraft separation systems. At this time the civil air transport world was beginning to investigate the potential for the civil use of the Global Positioning System under development by the US military, and this became Ian's special area of expertise for the following 25 years.

He has been Australia's leading light in the development of space-based navigation, leading the charge in the transition from ground-based radio navigation aids to a global system that initially was dependent on the satellite constellation of the US military, to one that now encompasses at least three sets of satellites launched by three national and international groupings, able to provide a navigational accuracy of the order of a millimetre horizontally and a few centimetres vertically, 99% of the time over 98+% of the earth's surface.

It was Ian's involvement in working groups and international expert panels of the International Civil Aviation Organisation that not only developed the systems and standards we now enjoy worldwide, but encouraged Australia to be a leading light in the process. Whilst some members of the expert panels advocated for using the new technology to overlay the newly-available accuracy on the existing instrument approach procedures, Ian and others argued successfully for developing the now-familiar patterns for three-dimensional navigation using a succession of precisely-defined points in space that could follow a curved path or a series of straight segments that could lead an aircraft to a straight-in approach to a runway. These approaches allowed lower decision heights for most runways, and the ability to fly an instrument approach to runways that never previously had the capability for an instrument approach. More recently, Ian's work has led to the ability to provide vertical guidance at least equal to that provided by a Category III Instrument Landing System, to almost any runway, anywhere in the world, without expensive and sensitive ground-based infrastructure, or to permit a single facility to provide corrections to the satellite-generated signal that could serve tens of runways within a radius of up to 25 kilometres.

Ian Mallett retired from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority in 2017.

For his work in developing these international standard procedures and increasing the safety and accuracy of aerial navigation, Ian Mallett DFC is awarded the Australian Bicentennial Award.

Previous Winners:

1987/88 Captain T Thom

1988/89 Keith Robey MBE

1989/90 Wing Commander K C Andrews

1990/91 Captain J K Davenport

1991/92 Group Captain J W C Baker RAF

1992/93 A J (John) Douglas Esq

1993/94 Captain A Wickes

1994/95 John R Colwell Esq

1995 Mrs Senja Raymond Robey

1996/97 Glenn Elms Esq

1997/98 Captain John W Kessey

1998/99 Langley Kidby

1999/2000 Captain Philip Davenport

2000/01 Stephen Ingham

2001/02 Allana Corbin

2003/04 Captain Peter James Raven

  2005  Not Awarded

2005/06 Bill Bristow

2006/07 David H Lowy

2007/08 Not Awarded

2008/09 Peter Nottage

2009/10 Group Captain Dr Robert Lee

  2011  Not Awarded

2011/12 Dr Carol Lesley Durkin PhD LLM BA DipSocStud

2012/13 Christopher Sperou

2013/14 Captain Patrick Stuart Murray

2014/15 Harry Schneider

2016  Matt Hall

2017  Bastiaan Scheffers

2018  Wing Commander Ian Mallett DFC RAAF(retd)