The Honourable Company of Air Pilots incorporating Air Navigators

The Master's Commendation

Awarded for outstanding service in the air, at the discretion of the Master.

(amended Terms of Reference 2019)


2019 awarded to: Flight Lieutenant Christopher Stradling

002 Flt Lt Chris StradlingFor over 31 years, Flight Lieutenant Stradling has served continually as a navigator on the Tornado Force amassing over 6000 flying hours, completing over 300 operational missions, 11 Tornado squadron tours and participating in nearly every Tornado campaign in its 28-consecutive year operational history since Operation GRANBY in 1990.  As Tornado concludes its operational service, Stradling continues to serve as an exceptional aviator with the utmost enthusiasm and professionalism for operational flying, at the very forefront of the strike capability of the Royal Air Force.

Stradling commenced his Tornado conversion training at the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment in September 1987, graduating in February 1988.  His first posting was to Number 17(Fighter) Squadron at Royal Air Force Bruggen where he was certified Combat Ready in both the Attack and Nuclear Strike role; a responsibility that required the highest levels of diligence, professionalism and moral fortitude.  Over the subsequent 30 years he has: amassed over 6000 Tornado flying hours; served consecutively on 10 further Tornado squadrons; completed over 300 operational Tornado missions on Operations GRANBY, SOUTHERN WATCH, RESINATE, TELIC, HERRICK and SHADER; diligently instructed and enthused countless Tornado pilots and navigators over two tours on the Tornado Conversion Unit; flown on over 25 international exercises; and conducted hundreds of flypasts, including the RAF100 celebrations.  He will end his Tornado flying career with the highest number of flying hours anyone has ever achieved in the Royal Air Force Tornado Force, exceeding his nearest peer by over 600 hours.  He also remains dedicated to the operational output of the Force, volunteering throughout 2018/19 to deploy more than any other aircrew in support of Operation SHADER.  Stradling entirely deserves the assessment of ability as ‘Exceptional’, recorded in his flying logbook, and is an impeccable example of professionalism; he rightfully commands the unconditional respect of everyone on the Tornado Force.

Throughout his exceptional career, Stradling has repeatedly volunteered for additional duties demonstrating selfless dedication.  In 2000, he volunteered to undertake the position of navigator in the Tornado Display Team, giving up his weekends to showcase the aircraft at events across Europe; in 2012 he repeated this duty as part of the Tornado Role Demonstration Team.

Throughout his entire flying career, Stradling has remained as enthusiastic about operating Tornado as he did in September 1987.  His 31 years of unbroken service to the10 Christopher Stradling Masters Commendation Tornado Force is evidence of an outstanding flying career and unrivalled operational record.  As his ongoing operational service proves, he always places the Service before himself and has remained at the forefront of the strike capability of the Royal Air Force for over three decades.  Whether conducting operations himself or guiding hundreds of students through the Tornado conversion course, whilst instilling in them his exceptional standards, the capability of the entire Tornado Force has been significantly enhanced by his efforts.  Forced to leave the Tornado only because the aircraft will be withdrawn from service, his dedication and professionalism is unquestionable.  As such, Flt Lt Christopher Stradling is an extremely worthy recipient of the Master’s Commendation.

Previous Winners:

1977/78   Squadron Leader R Penny

1978/79   Mr Asad Nasr on behalf of Middle East Airlines

1979/80   Charles Nicholas Hoy Esq

               Hikmat M Ghosn

1981 - 1982 Not Awarded

1982/83  Alan Bramson Esq

              Arthur E Gibson Esq

              Eric H Woods Esq

1984 Not Awarded

1984/85   J R Kilner Esq & P Bonhomme Esq

1986 - 1987 Not Awarded

1987/88   First Officer Mimi Tompkins

1988/89   First Officer G Slader & Second Officer M Thomas of United Airlines

               Wing Commander M C Brooke

               Captain T F P Frizell

1989/90   A E Donlan Esq

1990/91   G P Sanctuary Esq

               Captain J Sirley

1991/92   Robert Legg Esq

1992/93   Mrs Constance E Fricker

1994  Not Awarded

1994/95   Professor Angus Wallace & Dr. Tom Wong

               Miss Tracey Leigh Signal

1995/96   Captain Peter Bugge & Captain John Robinson

1996/97   Flight Lieutenant Michael J Chatterton

1997/98   Malcolm Mason Esq

1998/99   Wing Commander Simon Meade

1999/2000 Captain Neville Grady

2000/01   Flight Lieutenant Rodney Leigh

               Captain John Savage

2001/02   Andrew Digby Esq

2002/03   Roger H Beazley Esq

2003/04   Squadron Leader Malcolm Hunt RAF

2005    Not Awarded

2005/06   Captain Ralph Kohn

2006/07   Victor Lockwood

2007/08   Squadron Leader Warwick Creighton MBE RAF

2008/09   Squadron Leader Alastair Pinner MBE RAF

               Captain Roland "Rolie" James DSM(Oman) BA(Hons)

2009/10   The Air Cadet Organisation

2010/11   656 Squadron Group AAC

               Miss Mandy Pantall

2011/12   Flight Lieutenant D J "Jack" Hawkins RAFR

               Garry Stanfield Smith

2012/13  The British Helicopter Team 2012

2013/14  Major Mark Martin AAC

               Royal Australian Air Force Air Mobility Group

2014/15  Lieutenant Commander Chris Götke AFC RN

               Royal Air Force Air Traffic Management Force

2016  Major Jean G R Leroux CD

2017  Captain Rosella Bjornson

         Lieutenant Colonel Kevin M Hall USAF

2018  Group Captain John Middleton OBE RAF

        Squadron Leader Mike Ling MBE RAF

        Major Dennis W Sharf CD

2019  Flight Lieutenant Christopher Stradling RAF