The Sword of Honour

Awarded for an outstanding contribution to General Aviation.


2020 Awarded to:  The General Aviation Safety Council (GASCo) Regional Safety Officers


In 2010 the Civil Aviation Authority invited the General Aviation Safety Council (GASCo), a registered charity, to take on responsibility for delivering safety events to the General Aviation community.  GASCo willingly agreed and recruited a team of experienced pilots as Regional Safety Officers (RSO).  All are unpaid volunteers with a wide-ranging experience of General Aviation (GA) and most of them hold additional qualifications such as flying instructor, examiner, test pilot and flight information services officer.  Over the past ten years the team has delivered or taken part in some five hundred GA events across the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Ireland.

Each year the RSOs gather material, write the script, design the audio-visual content and produce the supporting material for a new presentation.  The team is constantly on the lookout for new content and original ways in which to put it across, an example of which is the introduction of audience polling which has led to their increased engagement.  Peer group reviews and rehearsals to become word perfect in the delivery and mastery of the subject matter follow.  The dedication, time and effort entailed in all this is remarkable in itself but it is in the delivery of the material that the team really exceeds all expectations.  All the RSOs are consummate communicators and each is able to adjust the content and style of their presentations to the disparate audiences they serve, all of which are fulsome in their praise for their originality and skill in delivery. 

Getting this right is demanding on the individual RSO.  A safety event invariably involves long distance travel, overnight accommodation in a budget hotel and a late night.  On arrival the RSO is required to check that the room layout is suitable for a typical audience of forty to fifty.  They then have to set up and test the equipment, erect the display stands, distribute handouts and complete a technical rehearsal so that everything is ready in good time.  At half time there are logbooks to stamp and questions to be answered.  Everything must be packed up and loaded at the end of the evening which is usually not before 10pm.  Often the locations are remote and as most of the safety evenings are delivered in winter, the weather conditions are frequently inclement. This may not be extraordinary in itself, but the fact that most of the team have been giving up their free time to do this for the past ten years shows their outstanding commitment to flight safety education.

In addition to their work in delivering Safety Evenings, team members support a wide range of other GA events during the remainder of the year, from manning the GASCo stand at shows and running safety activities such as pre-flight inspection challenges, to other ingenious safety related activities designed to stimulate safety related conversations. In this respect the members of the team are clearly in a class of their own being able to relate to young people just starting out in aviation and to experienced aviators with thousands of hours of flying experience.  Members of the team give bespoke safety presentations to flying groups in their regions and Airspace Infringements Awareness presentations to flying instructors, examiners and flying clubs as well as delivering Airspace Infringements Awareness courses approved by the Civil Aviation Authority.  None of this would be possible without the unstinting administrative support provided by Mrs Penny Gould’s work behind the scenes in arranging the programme and taking expert care of the team’s administrative needs.  It is a hallmark that apart from the recent COVID-19 emergency, the team has never cancelled a safety engagement.

GASCo’s volunteer RSO team has a well-earned reputation for being a major contributor in furthering the cause of GA flight safety.  All members of the team are unswerving in their dedication and have indisputably made an outstanding, original and practical contribution, leading to the safer operation of GA aircraft and saving lives.  They are therefore deserving recipients of the Sword of Honour.


Previous Winners:

1972/73 J C Ward Esq

1973/74 Gatwick ATC

1974/75 Edward Day Esq 

1976 Not Awarded

1976/77 Captain E Thurston

1977/78 R D Campbell Esq

1978/79 John H Blake Esq

1980 Not Awarded

1980/81 Giles Kershaw Esq

1981/82 H G Pattison Esq

1982/83 Dick Smith Esq

1983/84 The Royal Flying Doctors Service of Australia

1984/85 John Thorpe Esq

1986 Not Awarded

1986/87 Miss Eve Jackson

1988 - 1989  Not Awarded

1989/90 Captain J G Green

1991 Not Awarded

1991/92 Frank E Young Esq

1993  Not Awarded

1993/94 Hugh M Kendall Esq

1994/95 The Royal Queensland Aero Club

1996 - 1997  Not Awarded

1997/98 (Roland) Lovat Fraser Esq

1998/99 Brian Lecomber

1999/2000 David Ogilvy OBE

2000/01 Air Vice-Marshal Bertrand 'John' Brownlow

2002  Not Awarded

2002/03 Government Flying Services of Hong Kong

2003/04 Captain David Staveley

2004/05 David William Jupp

2005/06 WO1 Ronald Jack Watkins

2007  - 2009  Not Awarded

2009/10 Paul Bonhomme

2010/11 David Hamilton

2011/12 Gerald Charles Hackemer

2012/13 Peter Moxham

2013/14  John and Martha King

2015   Not Awarded

2016  Frederick O Marsh Esq

2017  National Police Air Service

    Stephen Grey

2018  Gerry Hermer AFC

2019  Not Awarded

2020  General Aviation Safety Council (GASCo) Regional Safety Officers