BBMF – Flt Lt Jim Hawkins

Some key names from the world of historic aviation have been recognised by the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators in their annual Trophy and Awards nominations. The awards for courage, achievement and highest standards of airmanship are regarded among the world’s premier aviation accolades.

The nominees received their awards at an event at London’s medieval Guildhall on Tuesday 23 October 2012. Among those receiving a total of over 20 different awards are military aircrew, airline pilots, air-sea rescue heroes and test pilots. All have been chosen for their commitment to the highest flying standards.

The awards stem from the creation of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators in 1929, the spirit of the medieval guilds spurring early pilots including Sir Alan Cobham and Sir Sefton Brancker, then Minister of State for Air, to form “an association of pilots to foster recognition of the importance of their professionalism and sometime heroism.”

That spirit remains every bit as appropriate today and the GAPAN awards are particularly noteworthy because the recipients are selected by fellow pilots.

The Master’s Commendation, has been awarded this year to two people, both from historic aviation. Flt Lt David J Hawkins RAF has since 1998, been the Operations Officer and Adjutant of the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and has been personally involved in the planning and liason for every single event in which the Flight has participated over the last 13 years.

The presenting Officer was Admiral Sir George Zambellas KCB CBE, Fleet Commander and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff and Air marshal C R Spink CB CBE.

Flt Lt Hawkins said “It was such a fantastic honour to receive this accolade from my peers – I was delighted to receive this award at the end of my career. I was so surprised when OC BBMF phoned me to say that I had received it.”

The scale of Flt Lt Hawkins achievement can be found in the statistics for the BBMF’s 2011 season, where 1,044 aircraft appearances were planned including the flypast at the Royal Wedding which captured a global audience of 2 billion people. His award recognised both this outstanding contribution to the RAF and a career which will see 2012 mark Jack’s 50th and final year of uniformed service, having joined the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice in 1962.

OC RAF BBMF, Sqn Ldr Dunc Mason said “It is always so gratifying to see one of the team honoured for the outstanding work they do. Jack’s role as the Operations Officer was a demanding and pressurised one. We all wish him the very best in his retirement.”