The Honourable Company of Air Pilots incorporating Air Navigators

The Hugh Gordon-Burge Memorial Award

The Hugh Gordon-Burge Memorial Award

Awarded to a member or members of a crew whose outstanding behaviour and action contributed to the saving of their aircraft or passengers.

 

2020  Awarded to: Flight Lieutenant Paul Medford RAF

 

On the night of 10 February 2019, Flight Lieutenant Medford was the captain of a CH47 conducting overseas operations. Atrocious weather across the mission area was encountered, with a complex combination of torrential rain, low cloud with embedded thunderstorms and zero ambient light. The formation was operating toward the limit of crew capability, with the appalling flying conditions enduring for much longer than had been forecast. The electro optical devices, used for low flying, were barely functioning due to the moisture in the air and the task had to be adapted to ensure safe delivery of the mission critical passengers. As the formation continued towards a remote landing site, both Medford and the rear crewman noted the strong and distinctive smell of hydraulic fluid.

Hugh Gordon-Burge Flt Lt Paul MedfordThe crewman immediately investigated and quickly became covered in vaporising fluid from an uncontrollable leak. Medford immediately reduced speed to assess the severity of the situation and simultaneously ordered the isolation of the hydraulic sub-systems. The situation in the cabin was deteriorating rapidly due to a constant spray of highly flammable fluid and the rear of the cabin became saturated. Within minutes, the mist reached the cockpit and covered the flying instruments just as the cockpit warning panel illuminated.

Medford immediately ventilated the cockpit to clear the hydraulic mist and regain his already poor visual references with the ground, no more than 100 feet below. The vaporised fluid had contaminated the entire internal body of the aircraft, with map displays near impossible to read and even the inner lenses of the night vision goggles being coated in a hazy film, reducing visibility further. With the emergency now contained, the formation continued to battle through the adverse weather to the nearest landing site. Medford carefully balanced the risks of continuing versus the risk of setting the aircraft down in potentially hostile territory. With senses already heightened, the aircraft warning panel indicated a further loss of a flying hydraulic control system, resulting in 2 of the 3 systems now indicating inoperable. This emergency usually requires an immediate landing, as a loss of the final system would render the aircraft completely uncontrollable. However, given the hostile location, Medford decided to continue flight and ensure the aircraft, crew and passengers were not exposed to the significant ground threat.

Medford’s leadership continued upon arrival at the remote landing site. With a clear mind and recognising the operational requirement to keep the main landing site open, he negotiated an alternate site and conducted an alternative shutdown procedure to avoid ignition danger.

Throughout the mission, Flight Lieutenant Medford demonstrated an outstanding and essential clarity of thought and exceptional leadership, judgement, skill and aviation awareness.  He is a thoroughly deserving recipient of the Hugh Gordon-Burge Memorial Award.

 

 

Previous Winners:

1974/75 G W Crawford Esq

1976 - 1978 Not Awarded

1978/79 Captain F H Benton

1980 - 1981 Not Awarded

1981/82 Captain E H J Moody

1983 - 1986 Not Awarded

1986/87 Captain Peter Saxton

1987/88 Captain Shornsteimer

1988/89 Captain Dave Cronin

1989/90 FO A Atchinson Purser J Heward Stewardess S Prince Steward N Ogden Steward S Rodgers

1990/91 Captain Alfred L Haynes

1992 Not Awarded

1992/93 Captain I Berglund FO M Emery Flt. Engineer T N Boone

1994 Not Awarded

1994/95 Flight Lieutenant A J Stacey AFC RAF

1995/96 Crew of G-TIGK - Captain C J Roberts Senior First Oficer L J Sole

1996/97 Captain Leul Abate

1998 Not Awarded

1998/99 Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Sheppard AFC & Flight Lieutenant Ian Brosch MA BSc

2000  Not awarded

2000/01 Captain Bill Hagan & SFO Philip Watson

2002  Not awarded

2002/03 Lieutenant Commander Neale Hargreaves MBE - Mission Commander of Dolphin 43

2003/04 Captain Eric Gennotte, FO Steeve Michielsen, FE Mario Rofail

2004/05 Captain Mark William Hoey

2005/06 Thierry Fautrel & Marie-Pascale Bulle of Air France AF 358 at Toronto Airport

2006/07 Kevin (George) Francis

2008  Not Awarded

2008/09 Ultimate 21 Flight in Afghanistan

2009/10 Flight Lieutenant Alex Townsend RAF

2010/11 Crew of Flight QF 032 (AIRBUS 380 VH-OQA)

2011/12 Flight Lieutenant N McCready BEng RAF & Flight Lieutenant L D Flemington DFC MSc BAv RAF

2012/13 Lieutenant Bryan Peterson USN

2013/14 Captain Malcolm Waters and First Officer David Hayhoe

2014/15 "Ugly 52" - Major Nicholas George English AAC and Captain Charles William Russell AAC

2016  Captian Richard Alvarez

2017  Flight Lieutenant Karl A Kinsler RAF

2018  Flight Lieutenant Ben Wallis AFC RAF

2019  Not Awarded

2020  Flight Lieutenant Paul Medford RAF