The Honourable Company of Air Pilots (formerly known as the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators) has appointed its first female head.

Dorothy Saul-Pooley LLB (Hons) FRAeS, who is recognised as one of the leading flying instructors and flight examiners in the UK, has been invested as Master of the Honourable Company of Air Pilots.

After gaining a degree in Law at Southampton University, she qualified as a commercial solicitor in 1982. But, despite having a passion for flying from an early age, Dorothy was in her thirties when she took her first flying lessons.

Dorothy pioneered the establishment of the biennial Instructors Forum, which is organised by the Air Pilots in conjunction with RAF Cranwell and the Central Flying School, to allow best practices to be discussed and shared by instructors from both military and civil aviation. She also helped to create – and chaired – the Professional Flying Instructors Association.

Training instructors to teach is one of Dorothy’s passions and from her base at Shoreham in East Sussex she has run courses training over 250 instructors in the skills of passing their knowledge to others. She is also a CAA flight examiner and a leading author and editor of flying training manuals.

In 2006, Dorothy qualified as a helicopter instructor and her logbook currently records over 9,500 flying hours at the controls of over 85 types, including fixed wing and rotary, piston, jet, glider and microlight aircraft.

She said of her appointment:

“I hope one of my personal achievements this year will be to add to that range of flying experiences. In fact for every new aircraft I fly in my year as Master of the Air Pilots, I will make a cash donation to a bursary fund, which I hope in future years will join the existing Air Pilots bursaries to help more young people to qualify as pilots or train as instructors.

“Every pilot, in whatever area of aviation they operate, will have depended at one stage on the skill, judgement and patience of a flying instructor. For over 20 years I have made it my business to champion flying instructors and campaign for improved status for them, to enhance the standards of instruction and to improve standardisation of instruction and training, I am dedicated to continuing this support.”

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