The Honourable Company of Air Pilots incorporating Air Navigators

The Award of Honour

Awarded for an outstanding and enduring contribution to aviation.


2018 awarded to:  The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team

For over 50 years the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team has been performing both in the UK and, at various times, in most countries around the world. The team is globally famous, they are ambassadors for the UK and they have, for so many years, been perhaps the most visible example of British expertise and excellence in aviation. As an example of their professionalism and achievement throughout their 50+ years as a British Icon, a summary of their achievement during two major overseas tours in 2016 and 2017 reflects the team’s overall achievement over so many years.

Award Of Honour Red ArrowsIn 2016 and 2017 the team flew two major back-to-back overseas tours within a year of one another flying over 28,000 miles and visiting 20 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.  The tours showcased the RAF’s flying skills, engineering excellence and ability to support global fast jet deployments.  However, they were also a phenomenal boost for the FCO, DIT and the Government’s GREAT campaign which promotes education, tourism, engineering and iconic British companies and brands.  The interest that the Team generates was surpassed beyond all expectation.  In 2016 alone, it was seen by 1.2 billion people either live at display venues or through online and TV media channels.

The two tours showcased the RAF’s flying, engineering and expeditionary excellence.  However, the Red Arrows also flew the flag across the world as true ambassadors promoting the nation in the skies, Embassies, High Commissions, schools, universities and businesses.  They reflect activities in more recent years, but they also reflect the outstanding contribution to aviation during the last 50 years.  In this centenary year of the Royal Air Force the Red Arrows are again leading the celebrations that are so ably demonstrating the role of the Royal Air Force to the public. For their excellence and achievement throughout their 50-plus years of existence, the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team is awarded the Honourable Company of Air Pilots Award of Honour in recognition of its enduring contribution to excellence in aviation.

Previous winners:

1999/2000 awarded twice:
     Sir Arthur Marshall
     Sir George Edwards

2000/2001 awarded twice:
     Group Captain John Cunningham CBE
     Wing Commander Roland Prosper Beamont CBE

2002  Not Awarded

2002/03  Squadron Leader Neville Frederick Duke DSO OBE DFC** AFC

2003/04 awarded twice:
     Lionel Peter Twiss OBE DSC* QCVSA
     Joseph Sutter Hon FRAeS

2004/05  Sir Michael Cobham CBE

2005/06 awarded twice:
     Neil Armstrong
     Captain Eric Brown CBE DSC AFC KCVSA MA FRAeS

2006/07 awarded twice:
     Sir Michael Knight KCB AFC
     Albert L Ueltschi

2008  Not Awarded

2009  Not Awarded

2009/10  Sir Maurice Flanagan KBE BA Hon.FRAeS FCILT

2010/11  Duncan Simpson OBE CEng FIMechE FRAeS

2011/12  Wing Commander Kenneth Horatio Wallis MBE

2012/13  Captain James Arthur Lovell USN (Retd)

2013/14  Sir Michael John Marshall CBE DL

2014/15  UK Military Search and Rescue Force

2016  Captain Robert "Hoot" Gibson DSM DFC

2017  awarded twice:
    Air Chief Marshal Sir Patrick Hine GCB GBE FRAeS
    John Tribe BSc(Eng)

2018  The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows