The Australian Division of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) and Australian Flying are pleased to announced the winners of the 2017 Wings Awards. We would like to thank all those who sent in nominations, and congratulate these very worthy winners.
Col Pay Award for a Lifetime of Service to General Aviation
Richard Alaster "Dick" Gower
Dick Gower has served the general aviation community in many roles for the past 58 years. As a flying instructor and engineering exponent, Dick Gower has nurtured and advised countless flying careers. A world-recognised expert in the De Havilland Chipmunk, Dick has lent his expertise to many people, whilst simultaneously instructing at Royal Victorian Aero Club, supporting many air shows across Australia, serving on the Victorian Regional Airspace Procedures Advisory Committee (RAPAC), writing safety-related articles for several Australia aviation magazines and getting himself involved in issues concerning aviation to a very deep level. Dick is an Approved Testing Officer/Flight Examiner, past president of the Antique Aeroplane Association of Australia and a member of the Honourable Company of Air Pilots Australia. He has also served on CASA technical committees and established a consulting company, Australia-Pacific Aviation Services.
Congratulations, Dick. Your service makes you very well qualified for the 2017 Col Pay Award.
2017 Aero Club of the Year
Kyneton Aero Club
Founded in October 1966 by an enthusiastic and dedicated group of airmen and aviation supporters from around the picturesque and historic township of Kyneton, Kyneton Aero Club (KAC) has a reputation for encouraging the arts, skills and pleasures of private flying, flying training, airmanship, camaraderie, service and support of the community. Since the Aero Club was established in 1966, it has had an extremely active history in flight training, from ab-initio through to advanced ratings, flight reviews, recreational ratings conversions to GA and more. But over the years, KAC has hosted many aviation and community service events, well known in Victoria especially for their annual Australia's Biggest Morning Tea, which has raised over $35,000 for the Cancer Council over eight years. KAC also hosts a Gourmet Hot Dog fly-in to benefit Neuroscience Australia, supports FunFlight, the Air Force Cadets and other aero club events. In times of bushfires in the Macedon Ranges, KAC has supported both helicopter and fixed-wing firefighting assests with refueling, water pick-up, crew rotation and rest facilties as well as command and communication assistance. To the aviation community, KAC provides a very friendly and supportive drop-in place.
Kyneton Aero Club epitomises everything an aero club should be, and that has made them well qualified as the 2017 Aero Club of the Year.
2017 Flying Instructor of the Year
Michael Thomas – RACWA
Mike Thomas is a Grade One instructor and Manager for Member Services at the Royal Aero Club of WA (RACWA), who has been training pilots for nearly 25 years, teaching in commercial, aerobatics, formation and NVFR operations. After years of being a casual instructor, volunteer and club stalwart, Mike became a full-time instructor at RACWA this year. Mike’s contribution to RACWA and GA in general continues to be something quite outstanding. Mike’s outgoing and friendly nature has welcomed thousands of people into GA. In addition to RACWA, Mike has also been teaching air force cadets as a volunteer for nine years. He also instigated Rusty Pilots seminars at RACWA to help those that don't fly as often as they would like. Mike has a reputation of being particularly adept at making novice pilots feel relaxed and comfortable in the cockpit, while still enforcing the discipline needed for the student to progress to being a skilled and confident pilot. This ability has helped Mike teach generations of pilots to be the best they can be while building their love of aviation from the outset.
His dedication to the flying careers of others over the past 25 years has made him a very popular and deserving winner of the 2017 Flying Instructor of the Year award.
2017 Flying Training Organisation of the Year
Moorabbin Flying Services
Moorabbin Flying Services (MFS) operates two campuses at Moorabbin and one at Barwon Heads in Victoria. The school offers Diplomas of Aviation in both CPL and Instrument Ratings, as well as training and hiring aircraft to private students. MFS has created partnerships with regional airlines Sharp and Skippers, and international Vietnam Airlines, offering cadetships that smooth the path of entry for their students. Of the 1600 graduates, over 98% gained employment with airlines such as Qantas, Virgin, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Singapore. But MFS' influence on general aviation goes well past their core business of flight training; they also host Women in Aviation conferences, have hosted over 1200 Scout visits over nearly 20 weekends per year, hold school open days and holiday activity workshops. All of this serves to encourage young people and show them that they have access to aviation as a career or a hobby. MFS is also a member of the Community Aviation Consultation Group at Moorabbin and has contributed to CASA safety videos. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
RAes and Australian Flying had very little hesitation in recognising MFS as the 2017 Flying Training Organisation of the Year.