The Honourable Company of Air Pilots incorporating Air Navigators

History of the Awards

The Air Ministry had issued Master Pilot Licences to those persons who were considered to be suitably qualified in order that some standard of excellence could be seen to be applied to the new profession of Air Pilotage.  The issue of such certificates ended with the outbreak of war in 1939 and was not re-introduced after hostilities ended in 1945.

In 1949, the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators entered into discussion with the Ministry of Civil Aviation with regard to re-introducing the Master Certificates, but the powers that be within the Ministry at that time felt that such certification fell outside the Ministry's terms of reference.  The Court of the Guild were convinced that if a good standard were set and means could be devised to establish an examining body, a Master Air Pilot Certificate would be of value in terms of prestige (and of a subsequent financial value to the recipient!). 

In 1953, it was established that the Guild's responsibilites should be extended to the granting of Master Air Pilot Certificates.  Mr W E P Johnson was invited to become Chairman of the Committee responsible for recommending the awards; a post he held until 1964.  The first Master Air Pilot awarded by the Guild was to W Baillie in May 1953; certificate number 131.

In 1962, the Court of the Guild approved terms for the award of a Master Air Navigator Certificate, the first being issued to B L Baldwin in October 1963; certificate number 340.

In 1964, the "Master Air Pilot Certificate Award Assesment Committee" was reorganised, expanded and re-named "The Certificate Award Assessment Committee" and the Chairmanship was taken up by Captain D F Satchwell.

As time continued, the award of the Master Air Pilot and Master Air Navigator certificates fell into the portfolio of the Trophies and Awards Committee who continue to review and revise, on behalf of the Court the stringent criteria required to meet the standards of excellence of these awards.

In 2011, a new award of Master Rear Crew was added to the portfolio of these certificates of excellence, the first of which was issued to POACMN Marcus Wigfull in August 2011; certificate number 1067.

Click  Record of Certificates to October 2019  for a list of awarded certificates - the information is the most complete we have as records from the past are very thin, amounting in some cases to little more than an initial and surname.