The Honourable Company of Air Pilots incorporating Air Navigators

The Derry & Richards Memorial Medal

Awarded to a test pilot who has made an outstanding contribution in advancing the art and science of aviation.


2018 Awarded to: Frank Chapman


Liveryman Frank Chapman has been involved in flight test as an experimental test pilot since completing test pilot training with the French Ecole du Personnel d’Essai et de Reception (EPNER) in 1990.

Frank ChapmanFrank began his aviation career flying with the University Air Squadron whilst studying for a degree in engineering science at Oxford. Following fast jet training he flew both Harriers and F4 Phantoms on operational tours with the Royal Air Force in Germany between 1983 and 1989 before being selected for the French test pilot course. He then spent two years at RAE Farnborough where he was primarily involved in the development of electro-optical systems and Head-up displays, flying the Buccaneer, Jaguar, and Hunter. In 1992 Frank was posted, on exchange with the USAF, to Eglin AFB in Florida where he flew more than 1000 hours in the F-16 on trials including flight envelope expansion and weapon system integration.

In 1997 Frank retired from the Royal Air Force and spent the next six years flying A320s and A330s as an airline pilot with Monarch Airlines. This experience was ideal preparation for the next stage of his career as in 2004 he was recruited by Airbus and joined the flight test team in Toulouse as an experimental test pilot.

Frank was fully established by the time of the first flight of the A380 in 2005, and participated in much of the flight test programme of that aircraft as well as conducting production and development flight tests on all the other Airbus types. Subsequently he was nominated as a project pilot for the A350 and was involved in all aspects of that aircraft’s cockpit development whilst also taking a significant part in the on-going flight test programme of the A400M. In 2013 flight testing of the A350-900 began and Frank was one of the principal pilots, carrying out envelope expansion and handling qualities testing as well as systems development, leading to successful certification and entry into service in 2014. Frank then became the lead pilot for the A350-1000 providing operational input to the development and then conducting the first flight of that aircraft in November 2016. He was a lead pilot throughout the flight testing of the 350-1000 which culminated in the successful certification of the aircraft in 2017 and its entry into service at the beginning of this year.

In addition to his test flying, Frank is also an accomplished display pilot having displayed A350 and A380 at a number of commercial air shows, but also as a regular display pilot of vintage aircraft at the Shuttleworth Collection.

For his dedicated contribution to aircraft design, development, and flight testing, both military and civilian, Frank Chapman is a worthy recipient of the Derry & Richards Memorial Medal.



Previous Winners:

1953 Wing Commander J H Heyworth

1953/54 Wing Commander R Beamont

1954/55 L P Twiss Esq

1955/56 Squadron Leader J S Fifield

1956/57 M Randrup Esq

1957/58 T W Brook-Smith Esq

1959/60 A W Bedford Esq

1960/61 M J Lithgow Esq

1961/62 E B Trubshaw Esq

1962/63 H C H Merewether Esq

1963/64 P Bugge Esq

1964/65 E B Trubshaw Esq

1965/66 J Cunningham Esq

1966/67 H Cliff Rogers Esq DFC

1967/68 D G Taylor Esq

1968/69 J L Dell Esq

1969/70 T P Frost Esq

1970/71 W Gellatley Esq

1971/72 Duncan Simpson Esq

1972/73 J Cochrane Esq

1973/74 W P I Fillingham Esq

1975   Not Awarded

1975/76 Gilbert Defer Esq

1976/77 T M S Ferguson Esq

1978  Not Awarded

1978/79 Paul Millett Esq

1979/80 John F Farley Esq

1980/81 David Eagles Esq

1982  Not Awarded

1982/83 H R Radford Esq

1983/84 ChristopherYeo Esq

1984/85 Jeremy Lee Esq AFC

1985/86 Roy Moxham Esq

1986/87 J A Robinson Esq

1987/88 H E Frick Esq

1988/89 Angus M McVitie Esq

1989/90 K P Orme Esq

1991  Not Awarded

1991/92 P A Sedgwick Esq

1992/93 C F Roberts Esq

1993/94 C W Hague Esq

1995  Not Awarded

1995/96 D L J Thomas Esq

1996/97 Graham Tomlinson Esq

1997/98 Jeremy P Tracy Esq

1998/99 Squadron Leader David R Southwood BSc AFC RAF

1999/2000 Keith Hartley

2000/01 Derek Reeh

2001/02 Simon Hargreaves

2002/03 Gordon G (Jock) Reid FRAeS

2003/04 Paul Hopkins

2004/05 John Turner

2006 Not awarded

2006/07 Graham M Archer

2007/08 Peter Lawrence Chandler

2008/09 Iain Young MBE BSc FRAeS

2009/10 Graham Tomlinson

2010/11 Edward (Ed) Strongman

2011/12 Andrew Warner MA(Oxon) MRAeS

2012/13 Peter Wilson

2013/14  Mark Bowman

2015  Not Awarded

2016  Lieutenant Commander Robert Dowdell RNR

2017 Andrew Strachan

2018  Frank Chapman