Topdresser’s safe record honoured by his industry

APPLAUDED BY HIS PEERS: Gisborne topdressing icon Andy Stevenson receives the E.A. Gibson Memorial Award for more than 50 accident-free years agricultural flying, from Defence Minister Ron Mark at the award dinner of the New Zealand division of the Royal Aeronautical Society in Wellington. Picture by Paul Harrison

Gisborne topdressing pioneer Andy Stevenson has received another award in recognition of more than 50 years work in aviation and, particularly, his safety record in that time.

Mr Stevenson received the E.A. Gibson Award at the recent 2018 awards dinner of the New Zealand division of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

The award acknowledges substantial technical achievement in the field of agricultural aviation or in the field of aviation safety.

In 50 years of topdressing flying, Mr Stevenson, in his words, “never put a mark on an aeroplane”.

He received a silver medal, a certificate and a citation.

The award is a memorial to former Wing Commander Esmond A. ‘Gibby’ Gibson RNZAF, who became the first Director of Civil Aviation in New Zealand.

Mr Stevenson, aged 75, was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday honours list.

The Stevenson family was well represented at the awards function in Wellington, where presentations were made by Minister of Defence Ron Mark.

Mr Stevenson’s citation noted it was made in recognition of the extraordinary innovation and excellence in refining agricultural aviation operating techniques and technology in New Zealand, and overseas, for more than five decades.

The citation went on to record Mr Stevenson as founder of Gisborne-based agricultural aviation company Farmers Air Ltd, which he owned and operated until 2015.

He was chief pilot and managing director, and accumulated more than 30,000 accident-free flying hours in agriculture aviation.

After the presentation, Mr Stevenson said he knew of ‘Gibby’ Gibson’s work. but had never met him. He appreciated the legacy he (Gibson) had left in agricultural aviation.

At the presentation, he talked about his next project around another variant of the remarkable Falco XL aircraft, derived from the PAL XL750 type.

Meritorious Service Awards were also made to Andrew Gormlie and Bruce Chapman from Classic Flyers in Tauranga, who were involved in the restoration of Gisborne Aviation Museum’s Grumman Avenger torpedo bomber.

Peter Beck, from Rocket Lab, was awarded an upgrade to his earlier Meritorious Service Award with the presentation of the Rhodium Medal, the highest level of the award and only awarded once before.

It recognises his work with Rocket Lab and getting the Electron rocket into orbit from the Mahia launch site.

Gisborne topdressing pioneer Andy Stevenson has received another award in recognition of more than 50 years work in aviation and, particularly, his safety record in that time.

Mr Stevenson received the E.A. Gibson Award at the recent 2018 awards dinner of the New Zealand division of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

The award acknowledges substantial technical achievement in the field of agricultural aviation or in the field of aviation safety.

In 50 years of topdressing flying, Mr Stevenson, in his words, “never put a mark on an aeroplane”.

He received a silver medal, a certificate and a citation.

The award is a memorial to former Wing Commander Esmond A. ‘Gibby’ Gibson RNZAF, who became the first Director of Civil Aviation in New Zealand.

Mr Stevenson, aged 75, was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday honours list.

The Stevenson family was well represented at the awards function in Wellington, where presentations were made by Minister of Defence Ron Mark.

Mr Stevenson’s citation noted it was made in recognition of the extraordinary innovation and excellence in refining agricultural aviation operating techniques and technology in New Zealand, and overseas, for more than five decades.

The citation went on to record Mr Stevenson as founder of Gisborne-based agricultural aviation company Farmers Air Ltd, which he owned and operated until 2015.

He was chief pilot and managing director, and accumulated more than 30,000 accident-free flying hours in agriculture aviation.

After the presentation, Mr Stevenson said he knew of ‘Gibby’ Gibson’s work. but had never met him. He appreciated the legacy he (Gibson) had left in agricultural aviation.

At the presentation, he talked about his next project around another variant of the remarkable Falco XL aircraft, derived from the PAL XL750 type.

Meritorious Service Awards were also made to Andrew Gormlie and Bruce Chapman from Classic Flyers in Tauranga, who were involved in the restoration of Gisborne Aviation Museum’s Grumman Avenger torpedo bomber.

Peter Beck, from Rocket Lab, was awarded an upgrade to his earlier Meritorious Service Award with the presentation of the Rhodium Medal, the highest level of the award and only awarded once before.

It recognises his work with Rocket Lab and getting the Electron rocket into orbit from the Mahia launch site.

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