The Honourable Company of Air Pilots incorporating Air Navigators

The Captain John Ashton Memorial Award

To recognise a professional pilot or organisation for an outstanding contribution to flight standards and aviation safety within Australia.


2019 awarded to:   Captain David Evans

David Evans's career choice was to become a professional pilot so he commenced flying training with the Darling Downs Aero Club gaining his commercial pilot licence in 1979. In 1980 he became a flying instructor at the RQAC and during his two year stint there his standard as a flying instructor was noted as being of a high standard.

020 Capt David Evans - John Ashton MemIn 1982 David became an air ambulance pilot based in outback Australia where he gained valuable experience as a pilot flying life saving flights often in very challenging circumstances. This experience, linked to his high flying instructional record added greatly to his understanding of flight standards and the maintenance thereof.

David was accepted as a pilot with Qantas in 1984. On completion of his initial training he was allocated as a second officer on the Boeing 747. He went on to become a first officer on the 747. In 1991 he transferred to the Boeing 767 becoming a captain on that type.

2000 saw him transfer to the Boeing 747 and in 2001 become a Check and Training Captain. In this role he carried out checking duties on crews with emphasis on flight standards and operating procedures. The role also included training of pilots to become captains.

In 2006 David was selected to become a Check and Training Captain for the introduction of the Airbus A380 aircraft. This process involved moving to the A330 aircraft to gain experience on Airbus aircraft. With the introduction of the A380 in 2008 he was appointed a Check and Training Captain.

David was conducting Check and Training Captain training on board Qantas Flight 32 when it suffered a catastrophic engine failure on departure from Singapore. He immediately discontinued the training and assisted with the safe return to Singapore.

After a further nine years of checking and training he returned to line flying duties on the A380.

For his contribution to, and maintenance of high standards, David is awarded the Captain John Ashton Memorial award 2019.



previous winners (this award was established in 2019):

2019  Captain David Evans