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Vale Peter Lloyd AC OBE MiD

In celebration of his life and mourning his loss, the board of Safeskies Australia marks the passing of its patron, former president emeritus and board chairman, Mr. G. A. Lloyd AC OBE MiD, nationally and internationally known as ‘Peter’ Lloyd, on Tuesday 16 August, aged 101. Peter’s life was one of service, family and friendship, whether in his decorated service to his country in WWII, in business or in his unending support of aviation safety. 

An 11,000 hours’ pilot, qualified balloonist and parachutist, his passion for aviation, for aviation safety and for his country led to the successful growth of Safeskies Australia which now, some 30 years on, continues to serve all who fly, fuelled by his vision of safe skies for all. His enthusiasm for Safeskies, and its great Australian contribution to global aviation safety, remained unabated until his death. 

Peter’s force-of-being, presence and influence among world leaders or newcomers to aviation alike, combined with his faithful friendship to many, has left an indelible mark on the aviation industry and all who knew him. His participation in the many sectors of aviation, coupled with his ability to gain the respect and the ear of Australian and international leaders, made him an exceptional advocate not only for Safeskies Australia, but also the many Australian and international organisations he was involved with.

Peter’s contribution was recognised with a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2016, the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) Gold Medal in 1969, the Australian Sport Aviation Confederation Inaugural Gold Medal and was twice awarded the Oswald Watt Gold Air Medal (1969 and 2016) – Australia’s highest aviation award. In 1992 he was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame as the ‘father of sport aviation in Australia and internationally’. 

Peter’s presence, influence, leadership, and friendship will be deeply missed by all who knew him. His legacy will live on in Safeskies Australia and will be celebrated at the upcoming Safeskies conference to be held in Canberra 20-22 September 2022.

Safeskies Australia joins the many in offering condolences to his dedicated and selfless wife, Jan Lloyd, and Peter’s family.

Service and aviation career highlights

Peter served his nation in times of war and peace. He enlisted in the Second Australian Imperial Force in 1940 and served with distinction in both the Middle East and New Guinea. On 8 March 1945 Peter was Mentioned in Dispatches for gallant and distinguished service in the South-West Pacific.  

In 1951, Lloyd was elected honorary treasurer of the Royal Aero Club of New South Wales, in 1957 to 1967 its president, and again presided over the club in the 70s. When he joined the club, it was flying only two aircraft; under his leadership it became the largest training school in the Commonwealth.

In 1958 he became the president of the Federation of Australian Aero Clubs, building the Federation from eight clubs to 82 during his presidency. Under the RFACA, he encouraged the other aviation sports (gliding, ballooning, parachuting, hang-gliding, aerobatics, model aircraft, etc.) to compete nationally and internationally.

Lloyd was founding president of the Australian Aerobatic Club (AAC), a position he held for seven years, from 1970 to 1977. Through the AAC, Australia competed in FAI world events. Until his death, he was honorary governor of the Australian Sport Aviation Confederation, which is now the Australian FAI representative.

He became a member, freeman, and later liveryman of the London based Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators and was chairman of its Australian regional branch in 1975 and 1976, the first non-professional airman to be elected.

During the years he served in the FAI, first as Treasurer-General for nine years from 1976 to 1984, then as the first Vice President from 1982 to 1986, and finally as President from 1986 to 1988, he actively supported the development of sport aviation on a worldwide basis. The FAI represents a membership of 130 nations. 

As FAI president, he was called on to help in many matters of national and international consequence. He worked personally with Gorbachev of the USSR and Ronald Reagan of the USA and other world leaders to free a teenage German flyer, held after illegally flying into Moscow. He also liaised with the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) enabling the recognition of gliding, hang gliding and parachuting as Olympic sports. He was instrumental in the plan to develop the World Air Games held in Greece in 1995.

At the request of the Australian Prime Minister, in 1969 he was the chairman and chief executive officer of the BP Captain Cook Bicentenary Air Race from London to Sydney. Of the 72 aircraft that left Gatwick Airport, 58 crossed the finish line at Sydney’s Bankstown Aerodrome within 15 minutes of each other. 

Also a highly accomplished and respected businessman, he was founding chairman of directors of Helicopter Utilities Limited, which operated up to 118 helicopters in Australia and other countries, including Korea, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. His work did much to have helicopters recognised as a rural tool in Australia. The automotive business in which he was involved at one time, ran a fleet of 600 vehicles.

For 14 years he served as an honorary director of Australia’s famous and unique Royal Flying Doctor Service. 

In 1989 he was presented with the FAI Gold Air Medal, the world’s highest and most prestigious civil aviation award, joining Bert Hinkler and Sir Donald Anderson as the only Australians to have held the honour. In 1992, he was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, which recognised him as the ‘father of sport aviation in Australia and internationally’.

He remained proud of the fact that he was a fighting soldier in the Australian Imperial Force during World War 11 in the Middle East, New Guinea and Papua New Guinea and was decorated for bravery.

He was educated at Shore School, Sydney, and studied at Sydney University (post WW 11). He was a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, (and a CILT life member), the Australian Institute of Management and several others. 

Decorations

AC – Companion of the Order of Australia – Services to International Affairs and Aviation

OBE – Officer of the Order of the British Empire –Service to Aviation and the Motor Industry

MiD – Mention in Dispatches WWII – Decoration for bravery as a soldier

Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal

Australian Sport Medal 2000

Yuri Gagarin Medal – Russia – Services to aeronautics and cosmonautics and the cause of world peace

Order of Svazam (1st Class) Czechoslovakia – Services to Aviation and the cause of World peace through Air Sport without fear or favour for Nationality, Colour, Race or Creed

World War II – 1939-45 Star; Africa Star; and Pacific Star – plus Service Medals

Awards

World Gold Air Medal – the world’s highest aviation award

Oswald Watt Gold Air Medal (twice)– Australia’s highest aviation award

FAI Bronze Medal – Service to International Aviation

Paul Tissandier Diplome – Services to Aviation and Air Sport

Patron’s Lifetime Achievement Award – Aviation Safety Foundation of Australasia

FAI – Grand Master’s Commendation for outstanding Aviation achievement

President of Honour – FAI

Companion d’Honneur de la FAI

Australian Gold Air Sport Medal (Inaugural Medal – 2010)

Life Member – Australian Parachute Federation

Honorary Life Member, Recreational Aviation Australia (RA AUS)

Honorary Life Member of Aero Clubs; nationally and internationally

Inducted member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame

Medal of the Royal Federation of Aero Clubs of Australia – Services to Aviation.

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Sue Burdekin

Life member of Safeskies from 2020

Most recently, Sue Burdekin was the Aviation Program Coordinator in ADFA’s School of Engineering and Information Technology. She is a highly credentialled academic and researcher in human factors; and has been a senior lecturer in human factors and aviation safety since 2001. She has had experience in GA management and is a commercial pilot. She is a committee member of the Royal Aeronautical Society, a member of the European Association for Aviation Psychology, the Australian Aviation Psychology Association, the International Society of Air Safety Investigation, the Australian Women Pilots’ Association (a former state president), and a former board member of Safeskies.

She and her partner, Dr Robert (Rob) Lee, were regular speakers at Safeskies, bringing their wide-ranging and considerable human factors expertise to the conferences.