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Tuesday, 4 Apr 2006

CAA safety award finalists announced

A pilot who averted a serious accident after an in-flight medical emergency;
a pilot who, after an engine failure, ditched in the sea to avoid a
populated area; and a flying instructor who took decisive action after one
of his students had become lost have been selected as finalists for the
Civil Aviation Authority's (CAA) General Aviation Safety Awards 2005.

Now in their twelfth year, the awards recognise people within the UK general
aviation community whose outstanding airmanship, practical skills, quick
thinking and common sense have averted a serious or possibly fatal incident.
Sir Colin Terry, President of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), will
present the awards at the RAF Club in London on Thursday 4 May.

The finalists were nominated for the awards as a result of the following
incidents:

*     In June 2005, Neil France, a private pilot from Derbyshire,
accompanied a friend, also a pilot, on a local flight in an aircraft type Mr
France had not previously flown in. Not long after take off from Derby
Airfield, the pilot became medically incapacitated with his leg locked on
the controls and the aircraft entered a steep spiral dive. Mr France managed
to take control to regain level flight and, after exchanging headsets with
the unconscious pilot, made contact with Derby Radio for advice regarding
approach and landing speeds. After a flyby he was able to make an approach
using the agreed speed. Mr France restrained the pilot, who regained
consciousness just at the point of flare, closed the throttle and safely
brought the aircraft to rest on the runway at Derby Airfield.

*       In June 2005, the single engine of Mike Glinternick's PA-28 aircraft
failed after take off from Swansea Airfield. Instead of attempting a forced
landing on the crowded beach, or attempting to glide back to the airfield
over a housing area, Mr Glinternick, of Swansea, chose to ditch his aircraft
in the sea next to a coastguard station.

*       In July 2005, one of Barry Pearce's solo students became lost after
take off from Benson Airfield and continued out of radio communication
range. Realising the seriousness of the situation, Mr Pearce, a flying
instructor from Oxfordshire, launched in another aircraft and managed to
talk to the student by radio. He contacted the national Distress and
Diversion cell and was able to relay instructions from them to enable the
student to make a successful landing at Leicester Airfield just before dark.

The judging panel met at the CAA's Safety Regulation Group in March to
choose an overall winner, who will be presented with the CAA's General
Aviation Safety Award Tiger Moth Trophy at the awards ceremony.

The panel comprised David Ogilvy, President of the Aircraft Owners and
Pilots Association (AOPA); Peter Godwin of Bonus Aviation; John Romain of
the Aircraft Restoration Company; and Philip Whiteman, Editor of Flyer
magazine.
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