The Honourable Company of Air Pilots incorporating Air Navigators

The Master's Medal

Awarded to any person in aviation, at any time, for an act or other achievement in aviation considered worthy of the Medal, as soon as the facts of the event are clear.  This is intended to be an immediate award, made at the discretion of the Master. It is done so on the advice of the Trophies and Awards Committee, after careful consideration and due diligence.

(Amended Terms of Reference 2019)

2020 Awarded to: Flight Lieutenant Richard Davoren RAF

 

Richard DavorenOn the 10th December 2019, Flight Lieutenant Davoren was a conducting an operational Close Air Support sortie in support of Coalition Forces in a Eurofighter Typhoon when his aircraft suffered a serious fuel leak. The cockpit indications were ambiguous, and the leak could easily have been mis-diagnosed. Working under intense time pressure over potentially hostile territory, Davoren acted decisively and diverted safely to an airfield in a neighbouring country. There is no doubt that the fuel leak could have been catastrophic and Davoren’s swift and decisive actions averted the realistic possibility of losing the aircraft as it ran out of fuel.

The first indications were an aircraft Fuel Transfer caption which normally indicates a minor valve failure in the fuel system. However, when he deployed the in-flight refuelling probe the aircraft displayed a Fuel Valve caption which meant he was unable to take on any more fuel. Now running low on reserves, an aircraft centre of gravity warning initiated. It was at this point that Davoren noted that his overall fuel contents were depleting much faster than normal and that there was a significant lateral imbalance developing between his wing fuel tanks. He made the crucially important decision to get a visual inspection from his wingman who confirmed that a large amount of fuel was gushing from between the engine jet pipes. The severity of the situation was now fully apparent.

Davoren had precious few minutes before an engine failed, or the aircraft potentially ran out of fuel. Despite the intense pressure, he remained decisive and calm. He declared an in-flight emergency and executed an extremely expeditious recovery to the nearest suitable airfield. The recovery was complicated by an overcast cloud layer yet Davoren positioned himself perfectly to break cloud on the extended centreline and execute a text-book landing. He even had the capacity to take account of his aircraft weight and centre of gravity in order to touch down at the optimum approach speed, pulling the brake chute to bring the aircraft to a safe stop on an unfamiliar airfield.

As a first-tour Typhoon pilot, throughout this unusual, complex and frightening emergency, Davoren demonstrated levels of airmanship, decision making and technical knowledge that were far in excess of that which could have been expected from a pilot with his experience. Many more experienced pilots in the same situation could have mis-diagnosed the fault or could have taken much longer to react. Simply put, Davoren’s swift and correct actions saved his aircraft and potentially saved himself.

For his exceptional airborne performance in the most unprecedented and challenging of circumstances, Flt Lt Richard Davoren is eminently worthy of recognition by the award of the Master’s Medal.

 

Previous Award Winners:

The Guild Medal

1976 F A Laker Esq

1977 Captain J Schuman (posthumously) and Herr J Veito
         Lufthansa Flight 181

        The Royal Air Force Red Arrow Aerobatic Team

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The Master's Medal
 

1985 Captain John Testrake

1986 PO ACMN L Slater

1987 R Branson Esq and Per Lindstrand

1988 Captain S Yousif

1989  Not Awarded

1990 FO A Atchison

1991 Miss H Sharman

1992 Not Awarded

1993 Captain E J Wyer

1994 Not Awarded

1995 Air Commodore A N Nicholson OBE QHS RAF

1996 - 1998 Not Awarded

1999 Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard of the Breitling Orbiter 3

2000   Not Awarded

2001 Polly Vacher

2002 Caroline Gough-Cooper and Imogen Asker 

2003 David K Hempleman-Adams OBE

2004 HMS ENDURANCE

2005 Not Awarded

2006 CREW OF 7 FLIGHT ARMY AIR CORPS, Warrant Officer Class 1 Challis (Aircraft Commander), Sergeant Khanlarian and Corporal Leah

2007 Apache Patrol Members of 656 Sqn AAC

        Petty Officer Aircrewman James O'Donnell QGM

2008 Not Awarded

2009 The Crew of US Airways Flight 1549

        Captain Charles "Chalkie" Stobbart

2010 Captain Michael Fairhurst and First Officer James Brown

        Captain Stephen Noujaim

2011 Lieutenant Commander William Strickland USCG

2012 David "Wheely Dave" Sykes

2013 Lieutenant Commander Vincent Jansen USCG

        Sergeant Rachael Robinson QGM

2014  Not Awarded

2015  Solar Impulse - Dr Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg

2016  Tracey Curtis-Taylor

         Timothy Peake CMG BSc(Hons)

2017  Flight Sergeant Mike Rowlands

         Commander Matthew Grindon RN

2018  Not Awarded

2019  Winchaman Paramedic Carlton Real

        Wing Commander Rob Caine MBE MA RAF

        James Ketchall

2020  Flight Lieutenant Richard Davoren RAF