The Eric 'Winkle' Brown Memorial Award

Awarded for an exceptional achievement or contribution, by an individual or team, to the operational assessment or development of a manned aircraft(s) or airborne system(s).

2021 Awarded to:  Captain Richard Dane OBE

DANE Richard Winkle BrownAn enormously experienced pilot and leader in aviation, Captain Richard ‘Tricky’ Dane has amassed over 8000 hours flying with 6000 hours as pilot in command on 27 types ranging from single and multi-engine Rotary and Fixed Wing including Tiltrotor aircraft. His 37-year aviation career (1984-present) spanned operational, instructional, examining and test and evaluation roles. It was his work in senior management positions in Royal Navy and Commercial Aviation however, that saw the results of his exceptional ability in influencing aviation processes for the better. He was a force for good in all areas of aviation - training, test, safety, standards and assurance.

A gifted pilot, Dane’s knowledge base has been a cornerstone of his reputation, his phenomenal grasp of regulation, law and procedure always stood him well apart from his peers. Selected to become an instructor early in his career he was selected to fly in the coveted Royal Navy Sharks Display Team.

Follow on tours saw Dane as the youngest ever A2 qualified instructor and rated Exceptional by Central Flying School assessment. Inevitably he was a member of the prestigious Naval Flying Standards Flight, or ‘Trappers’. Dane was then selected for Service with the USN and USMC where he swiftly converted to the SH60B, R and S and became a revered instructor on all types. Work within VX-1 and HMX-1 saw him migrated to the embryonic MV22 Trials Team as test pilot and director. He personally oversaw the first tactical and training manual for the USMC/USAF. Such was his contribution within the project that he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for Exceptional Service by the USMC having driven the project to an operational stance and operated from sea for the first time. On return to the UK, he was also awarded the MBE for services to Military Flying.

He led the development of embarked flying procedures for Merlin in its inaugural and challenging embarkations in HMS Ark Royal and RFA Fort Victoria. Not only that but his documented development of Aircraft Flying Guides and amendment to pave the way for the aircraft in operational achievements in the Gulf War and in Deployed Operations. Current documentation still has Dane’s fingerprints on it nearly 20 years later!

In Command, he took 820 NAS and the Merlin to full operational capability in deployed operations from the Baltic to the Arabian Gulf. He then led 824 Squadron, the largest Squadron in the Royal Navy to previously unattained levels of performance, with outstanding results in CFS and NFSF assessments. He reviewed and amended the entire training syllabus for Royal Navy Pilots, Observers and Aircrewmen, streamlining their training and coordinating the best use of aircraft and simulators. Rightfully he was awarded the OBE again for exceptional service to military aviation.

His 14-year civilian career saw him assume critical roles. At CHC Helicopters he was a progenitor for SAR Standardisation in the northern UK bases and appointed technical and training lead for the £2.4Bn UK SAR bid. Appointed as Standards and Training Manager for the new UK SAR contract for Bristow Helicopters in 2013, his role in the safe and successful introduction of a new all-civilian SAR service into the UK cannot be understated. His encyclopaedic aviation knowledge and experience saw him take the lead in the introduction of the S92A and AW189 into SAR service, including the construction of operations manuals and training governance as well as the introduction of new capabilities such as NVIS, windfarm operations and the Air Co-ordination Role. His exceptional work effort, knowledge and talent has been at the heart of the successful and safe operation of a national civilian SAR operation.

In summary, not only is Dane a very much revered aviator in military and civilian circles, he has left behind a tangible legacy in the very fabric and culture of RN Merlin, USMC/AF Tiltrotor, and Commercial S92 and AW189 SAR Operations.  For his exceptional achievement and contribution to the operational assessment and development of these aircraft and systems, Captain Richard ‘Tricky’ Dane is awarded the Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown Memorial Trophy.

Previous Winners:

2018   Roger "Dodge" Bailey

2019   Test Pilots of the F-35 Integrated Test Force, Nathan J Gray, Lt Cdr Peter Wilson, Sqn Ldr Andrew Edgell, Maj Michael Lippert USMC

2020   Ben Lewis

2021   Captain Richard Dane OBE