Announcement made at the HAA Symposium

Members of the HAA each year nominate an individual they consider has made a personal contribution of major significance to the benefit of historic aviation in the UK, from which the Management Committee then vote the winner. This year Charlie Brown was voted overwhelmingly as the Darrol Stinton Memorial Trophy recipient for 2021.

Flt Lt Charlie Brown joined the RAF in 1981 and in his 30 year flying career as an RAF pilot has flown the Tornado GR1, Jet Provost, Chipmunk, Bulldog, Tucano, Firefly and Tutor. Charlie was stationed at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire and was a member of the Central Flying School Examining Wing.

In his spare time he is also the Chief Flying Instructor at the RAF Cranwell Flying Club. Charlie has around 1700 flying hours in Spitfires, which he describes as ‘a real privilege’. For many years he has been a regular participant at Duxford air shows. He is a highly experienced Spitfire display pilot, and is now the Head of Training with Aero Legends.

For his major contribution to the projection of immaculate display flying in the Spitfire type as well as his contribution to presenting other rare historic aircraft types, Charlie Brown is this year’s recipient of the Darrol Stinton Memorial Trophy.

Ordinarily the Trophy would be presented at the annual HAA Symposium but as Charlie was busy flying a Spitfire for Aero Legends (a very valid reason!),  a presentation will take place at Duxford at future date where the HAA President Sir Gerald Howard will make the award.

Charlie Brown in a familiar place, a cockpit of a Spitfire


Origin of the Darrol Stinton Memorial Trophy

Darrol Stinton was a former Farnborough and Civil Aviation Authority Test Pilot and founder member of the Historic Aircraft Association.

In the 1970s whilst working for the CAA as a Test Pilot, Darrol was test flying an increasing number of historic, classic and vintage types for which civilian owners were seeking Permits to Fly.  In 1978, in answer to CAA concerns about the ability of private owners to properly maintain and display heritage aircraft, Darrol together with Hawker Chief Test Pilot Duncan Simpson and a Council of 4 other Test Pilots, established the Historic Aircraft Association. Their aim was create an association that would monitor air display and piloting standards, share information and make appropriate recommendations to the CAA.  The work of the HAA introduced The Register of Pilots that were accepted and approved to undertake the air show display of historic aircraft.  Darrol’s aim was to ensure that historic aircraft were reliable to fly, and would be flown by “good egg” pilots beyond reproach who could be relied upon to fly them safely.

For more than three decades, Darrol worked as a Vice-President of the Association and the excellent safety record of historic aircraft at air shows across the UK is part of his fine legacy. He helped create the system of “Display Authorisation” which evaluated the performance of individual pilots and helped frame regulations which ensured that any potential display incidents were kept away from crowds.

Following Darrol’s death in 2013 the HAA instituted a new trophy in his memory to be awarded in recognition of outstanding individual achievement in the operation and preservation of historic aircraft.  This trophy is awarded annually to an individual who is considered by the membership of the HAA to have made a great contribution to British Historic Aviation.