Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate

The Royal Aero Club is the national co-ordinating body for air sport in the United Kingdom.

It was set up in 1901 as a club for balloonists. With aviation developing internationally, the Club was a founder member of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale in 1905. It became the British representative of this world governing body, controlling all private and sport flying in the United Kingdom. From 1910 the Club was responsible for issuing Aviator Certificates as well as Aeronauts and Airship Pilot's Certificates. This authority continued until 1945.

Test flights were flown to qualify for the Aviator's Certificate or "ticket" as it was widely known. These were assessed by a Royal Aero Club official.

In the 1910s, "Taking one's ticket" involved:

  • 2 distance flights at least 5km (3miles, 185 yards) each in a closed circuit - the distance to be measured
  • 1 altitude flight with a minimum height of 50 metres (164 ft) which could form part of the two distance flights

The rules declared that:

The course for the distance flights should be marked out by two posts no more than 500 metres (547 yards) apart. After each turn round one of the posts, the pilot must change the direction of flight when going round the second post so the circuit is an uninterrupted series of figures of eight

The method of alighting (landing) for each of the flights should be with the motor stopped at, or before, touching the ground. The aeroplane must come to rest within a distance of 50 metres (164ft) from a point previously indicated by the candidate


By passing this examination the pilot showed that he or she had gained control of an aeroplane efficiently and so could take part in all aerial contests and displays run by the Club.

If your relative was a pioneer aviator check out the Royal Aero Club certificate records and photographs available via Ancestry.

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