Awarded for an outstanding contribution to General Aviation.
The name Pooley has been synonymous with PPL to ATPL training in the UK and overseas for 65 years. Robert Pooley, better known in aviation circles as Bob, joined the Royal Air Force in 1953 as an airman. He trained as a fitter on jet engines and was then posted to Germany to join 4 Squadron working on Vampires and Sabres.
He returned to the UK to complete his four-year National Service. He subsequently joined De Havilland’s Field Service Department before transferring to DH Comet Flight Test. During his first year at De Havilland he completed his PPL(A) flying Tiger Moths and Austers. It was at this time that his interest in pilot training equipment started. His first kneeboard was made on the night shift at De Havilland.
He acquired a share in a Hornet Moth and entered the Swiss Watch Rally. John Cunningham’s secretary Yvonne Pereira (now Trueman) got involved with the upkeep of the aircraft and so started a romance that led to an aviation wedding the following year.
Bob started a company called Airtour International which quickly grew, with their first offices at Elstree Aerodrome followed in 1965 by a factory in Cranfield. The first Pooleys Flight Guide was completed in 1962 with Yvonne typing up Bob’s notes on DH paper. The product range started to expand and by 1964 they had completed the CRP-1 Flight Computer or wizz-wheel. Then in 1965 came the CRP-5, a product that continues to be widely used in ATPL training the world over. Pooley also produced a number of bespoke items included a calculator for Concorde.
In the late 70s, Robert married Lyn and their new home at Felden soon became the hub for editing the Flight Guide and in the early 80s, the base for editing the Air Pilots Manuals by Trevor Thom, the go-to series that revolutionised PPL training. Over 250,000 pilots worldwide have used the series and they continue to be the manuals of choice for the majority of schools in the UK.
Felden will be fondly remembered by many in the Air Pilots for the aviation garden parties that were hosted there. In addition, it was the launch site for the annual Heathrow Air Traffic Controller’s London Heli Routes fly out organised by the Helicopter Club of Great Britain. Bob was an early member of the HCGB having gained his PPL (H) in 1967. He became Chairman of the Club and was instrumental in setting up the first World Helicopter Championship. Indeed, he went on to run the second Championship at Castle Ashby.
From 1964 Bob was deeply involved with the Army Air Corps. In particular as Trustee for the Museum of Army Flying Development and as a Director of their International Air Show. When the MOD cut funding for that event, Bob, in collaboration with the AAC and HCGB, ran its successor Helimeet.
He played an active role in the Royal Aero Club becoming Vice Chairman. He also became deeply involved in the Balloon Club becoming Chairman in the 1980s. At one time, Bob’s company was making hot air balloons from their factory in Cranfield including one for the Army Air Corp. He gained his Ballooning licence in 1982.
Bob was also President of three Air Training Corps Squadrons, Vice President of the Guild of Aviation Artists and Vice President of the British Precision Pilots Association. He is an FAI International judge. He has also been a judge of the International Dawn to Dusk Competition founded by our late Patron, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Bob became a member of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators in 1964 and took office as Master in 1987. As he does with all his projects, he threw his heart and soul into improving the Guild and ensuring that it served aviators in the best possible way. The Guild’s history records the impact of his ideas, many of which continue to shape the Honourable Company to the present day. His philanthropy and generosity within the aviation community has been a life-long commitment.
Even before setting up Pooley Sword, Bob donated swords to many aviation organisations including AOPA, Aerobility, the LAA and the Air Pilots to honour the outstanding achievements of the recipient.
For his outstanding contribution to General Aviation, it is therefore very appropriate that Robert Pooley is a deserving recipient of the Sword of Honour.
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 AVM 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 awarded twice:
National Police Air Service
2018 Gerry Hermer AFC
2019 not awarded
2020 General Aviation Safety Council (GASCo) Regional Safety Officers
2021 Stuart McKay
2022 Past Master Robert Pooley MBE
The Honourable Company of Air Pilots
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PATRON: HM THE KING
MASTER: CAPTAIN JONATHAN P LEGAT
CLERK: PAUL J TACON BA FCIS
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