The Royal Australian Air Force Centenary Flypast Team has been awarded the Honourable Company of Air Pilots Grand Master’s Australian Medal for 2022.

The medal was awarded in recognition of the team’s significant contribution, professionalism and dedication.

A major element of the centenary commemoration was a flypast showcasing past and present RAAF aircraft over Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra.

The effort was organised and led by a small team of expert aviators, under the leadership of the RAAF’s most experienced flying display director.

Centenary Flypast Team Group Captain Tim Sloane said planning for the event required substantial and complex efforts over a period of nine months.

“Flight paths, holding patterns and timing gates were developed by the team to ensure a seamless and safe display was achieved,” Group Captain Sloane said.

“The display aircraft were supported by air-to-air refuelling assets and a coordinating airborne early warning and control aircraft.”

Participation was also coordinated with Australian Army helicopters, in recognition of the service from previously RAAF operated rotary-wing aircraft, and a Royal Australian Navy Seahawk helicopter that ‘paraded’ the underslung RAAF Ensign to the significant crowd.

During conduct of the event, all team members played an active role in ensuring formation timings, leadership, management and safety were maintained.

“Organisation and execution of the event was not without challenges,” Group Captain Sloane said.

“Because of the fluid COVID-19 restrictions, several team members spent some time in quarantine and were therefore required to continue their work remotely.”

For their contribution in true RAAF spirit – through adversity to the stars – Group Captain Sloane and his team, Squadron Leaders Jason Gamlin, Christopher Rogers, A/Squadron Leader James Denton and Flight Sergeant Tim Muehlberg were awarded the medal.

The Grand Master’s Australian Medal is awarded to an individual, group or organisation involved in any branch of aviation in the Australian Region or to Australian nationals abroad, who or which has made a meritorious contribution to any aviation activity, either by displaying technical excellence or by developing a procedure or operational technique of an outstanding nature.