The Central Flying School Trophy

Awarded to an individual, group or organisation that has made an outstanding contribution toward the achievement of excellence in the delivery of flying training or instructional standards.


2020 Awarded to: Lieutenant Commander David Westley RN


In an operational flying career spanning 31 years, Lt Cdr Westley has qualified on five different front-line aircraft types, serving with both the Commando Helicopter Force and on exchange with the Army Air Corps. He has extensive operational experience, having deployed to Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. He has amassed nearly 7000 flying hours including over 1000 using night vision devices. Having spent most of his career in instructional roles as a Qualified Helicopter Instructor (QHI), he has played an enduringly vital role in the training and development of countless military aviators over the last twenty years. He is rightly held in the highest esteem by everyone he has trained.

David Westley01Westley’s dedication to training aviators is a constant theme throughout his impressive career. After serving in a multitude of influential instructional roles, including the Chief Instructor and ‘keeper of standards’ on the Commando Sea King as Training Officer Sea King, he returned to his light utility helicopter roots in 2013, taking up the role of Training Officer for 847 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) for the second time. As a vastly experienced ‘A’ category QHI, he played a pivotal part in the effort to field the new to service Wildcat AH1, despite not being formally appointed to the Wildcat Fielding Team. As one of the first pilots to conduct the Leonardo Helicopters delivered factory training on the aircraft, his extensive expertise in training design was exploited to help generate the military applicable training material and deliver the initial instruction on a significantly modernised and vastly more complex air system than its Lynx predecessor. Throughout his various Wildcat AH1 instructional assignments he has trained and mentored a myriad of tri-service aircrew. His subsequent role in transitioning 847 NAS into the Wildcat era cannot be overstated. Outside the cockpit, his experience has been further exploited in the Commando Helicopter Force headquarters where, as the second-in-command of the Environmental Training Team, he rewrote Arctic and desert syllabi for all commando platforms.

Of particular note, on two separate occasions during 2016 and 2019, Westley pioneered the delivery of the franchised ‘In-House’ Conversion-to-Type and Conversion-to-Role training on 847 NAS. This entirely novel set of circumstances, representing a significant departure from normal activity in a front line NAS, and without any additional resource, was deemed necessary to address the divergence between demand for front line aircrew on 847 and the capacity of the Army Operational Conversion Unit to supply them. With a unique blend of pragmatism, professionalism and experience that has become synonymous with his output, he ensured that Defence Systems Approach to Training (DSAT) compliant courseware was in place, gained approval from a plethora of relevant stakeholders, and then expertly executed a time and resource constrained course, twice over. The results of his unprecedented endeavours, and those of the team of airborne instructors whose efforts he galvanised, is that 847 NAS was able to declare a Full Operational Capability. Without his efforts this would have been impossible. This crucial milestone has created the conditions for the squadron to train in earnest to maintain a credible, permanent Very High Readiness posture – a posture that has been proven in recent years through short notice activations for contingency operations in the Caribbean and the Arabian Gulf.

For his dedication to duty, and professional excellence in the delivery of flying instruction in novel and challenging circumstances, Lt Cdr Dave Westley is awarded the Honourable Company of Air Pilots’ Central Flying School Trophy.


Previous Winners:

2005/06 Captain Derek Jones

2006/07 Squadron Leader Anthony N Clements

2007/08 Squadron Leader Peter Howlett

2008/09 Hawk Synthetic Training Facility RAF Valley

2009/10 Squadron Leader Selwyn Williams

2010/11 Captain Dieter Harms

2011/12 Alexander John Hurrell BA cfs

2012/13  The Royal Air Force Search and Rescue Training Unit (SARTU) RAF Valley

2013/14 Ian Douglas Fogarty AFC qfi

2014/15 Royal Air Force Puma HC2 Aircrew Training Team

2016  Tayside Aviation Ltd

2017  Wing Commander Harry Palmer

2018  Squadron Leader John Benson-Cooper RNZAF

        653 Squadron Army Air Corps

2019  673 Squadron Army Air Corps

2020  Lieutenant Commander David Westley RN