It is with great sadness that we report the death of our long-term Patron, HRH Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Prince Philip became Patron of the Society of Model Aeronautical Engineers (now trading as BMFA) in 1957 and, despite relinquishing many of his patronages when he stepped back from public duties over recent years, he remained in place as our patron for a remarkable 64 years. Prince Philip also served two terms as Chairman of the Royal Aero Club and had also served as its President.
Prince Philip was a long-term aviation enthusiast, gaining his RAF wings in 1953 having been taught by Group Captain Caryl Gordon who had led the CFS Meteor Aerobatic Team in the 1950’s. He also qualified as a helicopter pilot with the Royal Navy in 1956 and was awarded his private pilot's licence in 1959.
Many members of the Royal Family have flown solo during their training with the RAF or Royal Navy, but Prince Philip is the only one to have flown a civil aircraft solo. This he did in October 1959 when he flew a Turbulent from White Waltham. This was a significant occasion because it is the only time a member of the Royal Family has flown a single seat aircraft.
He flew 5,986 hours in 59 types of aircraft, his final flight at the age of 76 was on 11th August 1997 from Carlisle to Islay.
We are certain that members will join us in offering our sincere condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family at this sad time.
Ian Pallister FSMAE