Annual Report 2008


The Royal Aero Club Trust was founded as a Charity in 1998.  The Trust has two principal objectives:-

  • The conservation of the collection of memorabilia of the Royal Aero Club of the United Kingdom and the dissemination of its contents to a much wider public.
  • Promoting the development of young people by helping them achieve their physical, social and spiritual potential through participation in air sports and aviation related activities.  Full details of the Trust activities can be found on its website

Scope of this Report

This report covers the period from 1st January 2008 to 31st December 2008.

Public Benefit Summary

The records and artefacts in the conservation programme are available to any member of the public seeking further information from the archives of the Royal Aero Club through an application to the Trust or to the Royal Air Force Museum Hendon, with copies of specific records available for a small fee.  The Flying for Youth programme grants relatively small amounts, typically up to £500, which are available providing that applicants raise a similar sum from their own resources or through their own efforts.

The Royal Aero Club Collection


The collection includes more than 900 boxes of archival material including albums, books, publications and reference works, Aviators’ Certificates (dating back to pre WWI), more than 70 paintings and sculptures and numerous items of historic silverware.  The collection is a significant part of this Nation’s 19th and 20th Century aviation heritage.

Whilst most items are kept at the RAF Museum Hendon, some are also held at other locations including the Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester.  It should be noted that some items are on public display and others are stored.

The Collection’s conservation and continuing maintenance is a cause for concern to the Trustees and the Royal Aero Club of the United Kingdom who recognise its National importance and our responsibility towards future generations.

Paintings and Sculptures

The catalogue of all RAeC paintings and sculptures prepared over several years has been updated by Dick Poole.  This catalogue will be published on the Trust website.

Cups Trophies and Silverware

The Trust catalogue of all RAeC cups, trophies and silverware has been completed and is continually updated and maintained.  The catalogue enables the Trust to identify those items which are in need of conservation and repair.

As previously stated the Trust owns the ‘1st Aero Club Cup’.  This is the very first aviation trophy in the World.  It was awarded to the winner of an Air Race in London in 1906.

Due to the very kind generosity of Mr. G. Roper the Trust has also acquired a miniature Kings Cup together with an Official Programme for the Kings Cup Air Race in April 1922.  The significance of this memorabilia cannot be underestimated.  Firstly, His Majesty King George V actually presented the Cup personally.  Secondly, King George V is great grandfather to the Trust’s Patron HRH The Duke of York.  Thirdly, the Official Programme identifies airfields that no longer exist, but were part of the U.K.’s early aviation heritage.

Royal Aero Club Aviators Certificates

This part of the Trust’s collection contains approximately 28,000 index cards and 34 photograph albums of aviators who were issued with their flying licences (Certificates) by the Royal Aero Club from 1910-1950.  As well as civilian pilots these include the first military and naval personnel who became pilots.

Noteworthy among the early Aviators is J.T.C. Moore-Brabazon (later Lord Brabazon of Tara), who was awarded the first Aviators’ Certificate (Licence) on 8th March 1910.

The Trust’s records show that included in his many famous exploits, Lord Brabazon on 30th October 1909 flew a circular mile and won a £1,000 prize offered by the Daily Mail newspaper.  On 4th November 1909, as a joke to prove that pigs could fly, he put a small pig in a waste-paper basket tied to a wing-strut of his airplane.  This may have been the first live cargo flight and is also recorded in the Trust archives.

The Trust thanks Cross & Cockade International and its volunteers for their continued support with unlimited research on our behalf.

The RAeC Archives and NADFAS Volunteers

The Trust continues to receive outstanding support from NADFAS (National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies).

These volunteers spend thousands of hours preserving and conserving historical records.  These records are absolutely vital for the Nation and for future generations.  The NADFAS volunteers have the thanks of the Trust for this vitally important work which would otherwise be beyond the financial means of the Trust.

Thanks must again go to the Royal Air Force Museum Hendon and its Director and Staff for its and their invaluable contribution to conservation of important historical records.

The magnitude of the tasks facing all volunteers cannot be overstated.  It will still take several years to complete the current projects.

There is attached to this Report an Appendix itemising the additional work carried out during the year.

British Aviation Preservation Council

The Trust is a member of the British Aviation Preservation Council, an organisation “linking national, local authority, independent and service museums with private collections, voluntary groups and other organisations in the advancement of aviation preservation”.

Conservation of Unique Items

The Trust continues to thank the Museum of Science & Industry Manchester for storing free of charge security copies of Archival Microfilm in temperature controlled conditions.  This results in the microfilm being preserved for the next 250 years.

The Flying for Youth Programme

Flying Bursaries

During 2008 the Trustees awarded 16 flying bursaries to young people to assist them to progress from a basic level in their air sport to a higher level of skill and competence.  Sponsors of these bursaries included the Royal Aero Club Trust and The Royal Aeronautical Society.

Flight Simulator Bursaries Awarded To Personal Computer Pilots

A major objective of the Trust is to encourage youngsters to become involved in all forms of recreational and leisure activities in the air including air sport.  Many young people still perceive air sport and its related leisure activities to be expensive and elitist and consequently an adventure activity beyond their wildest dreams.  To dispel this notion the Trust offers bursaries to qualified PC pilots to provide real or hands-on experience of flying as well as activities such as parachuting and designing, building and flying model aeroplanes and rockets.  In 2008 three flightsim bursaries were awarded.

Information about those who were awarded bursaries is displayed on the Trust’s website.

Other Activities

Mobile Display Stands

We continue to thank Dr. Michael Fopp and the Trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum for the Roller Banner Display Stands for indoor displays.  They give a pictorial presentation of the work of the Trust.  Normally on display at the RAF Museum, they are now available, subject to some safeguards, to sponsors, friends and other organisations in the United Kingdom.


The major task of the Trust is to raise funds for its various conservation and preservation projects.  Fund-raising activities take a tremendous amount of time and energy.  This is particularly so in the economic recession which has been prevalent throughout this year.  The Trustees would like to thank HRH The Duke of York for his generous offer to hold a fund-raising Dinner.

Friends of the Royal Aero Club Trust

It should be noted that our benefactors are not only corporate sponsors.  During 2008 several new individual Friends have been enrolled.  A list of some of the sponsors and benefactors is displayed on the Trust website.

Trust Administration, Volunteers And Benefactors

In addition to the thanks previously expressed in this report the Trustees wish to place on record their thanks to the following:-

  • Messrs Jackson, Feldman and Company the Trust’s Honorary Reporting Auditors
  • The British Gliding Association for permitting use of its Leicester offices as the Trust’s Registered Office
  • The Director and staff of the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon
  • Mr. Eric Grimes for continuing to undertake the immense task of indexing the contents of the Hedges Butler Albums which are now on display on the Trust website
  • Mr. David Tait for his work on the digitised images of the Frank Hedges Butler Albums so as to enhance the website with illustrations
  • Mr. Franz la Rosee and Breitling for making their Boardroom available free of charge to the Trust for meetings.
  • The Naval & Military Club (In & Out) for providing free of charge facilities for meetings.

The Trustees are particularly appreciative of the generous donations from various benefactors without which the Trust could not continue its invaluable work.

All Trustees provide their time free of charge.  The Trust does not have any paid employees.

Patron, Trustees, Committee Members And Other Information

  • Patron: HRH The Duke of York, KG, KCVO
  • Vice Presidents: Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington and Franz la Rosée, CRAeC

At the end of 2008 the Trustees and Committee members were:

  • Chairman: James Crocker
  • Hon. Secretary and Treasurer:  Peter Crispin
  • Trustees:
    • Jim Crocker
    • Peter Crispin
    • Andrew Dawrant
    • Richard Dilworth
    • Frederick Marsh
    • Dick Poole
    • David Hempleman-Adams.
  • Other Committee members:
    • David Bills - Bursary Administrator
    • Air Vice Marshal P J Dye OBE, RAF
    • Miss Lucy Smeaton (Webmaster).
  • Bankers:  CAF Bank Limited

Downloadable Version

Annual Report 2008 PDF

The Royal Aero Club Trust
Registered with The Charity Commission 
No. 1068451