Today Richard Meredith-Hardy was awarded the FAI Gold Air medal at the FAI General conference in Santiago, Chile.
This Medal was established in 1924 and was first awarded in 1925. It is one of FAI's two highest awards. it is reserved for those who have contributed greatly to the development of aeronautics by their activities, work, achievements, initiative or devotion to the cause of Aviation.
In its 81 year history it has only been awarded 65 times, previous recipients include such aviation luminaries as Charles Lindbergh, Jimmy Doolittle, Chuck Yeager, Sir Frank Whittle, Yuri Gagarin and Steve Fossett.
The citation reads:
Amongst many other distinguished feats, he was the first person to fly a microlight aircraft over Mt Everest; he organized funded and flew the "Trans Africa Microlight Expedition" to Cape Town, including unsupported crossings of the Mediterranean and Sahara; and he was World Microlight Champion in 1990.
In his various aviation exploits he has displayed exceptional imagination, determination, skill and courage and is a shining example to others, demonstrating that great adventures in aviation are still possible.
In addition to this outstanding flying record, Richard Meredith-Hardy has worked tirelessly on the ground, directing 8 FAI World and European Championships, and contributing many innovative elements to the International Sporting code for Microlight flying.
For all his achievements, he richly deserves the FAI Gold Air Medal for 2005.
Unfortunately Richard was unable to make it to Santiago to receive the award in person and he received it at the Royal Aero Club awards ceremony in London instead, but the video below was shown at the FAI award ceremony.