Former RAF Flight Lieutenant Stuart King FRAeS  has received the Award of Honour from The Honourable Company of Air Pilots (HCAP) for his outstanding and enduring contribution to aviation.
Receiving his award at the UK headquarters of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) in Folkestone on Monday 18 November, Stuart was joined by close family, MAF colleagues and co-founder Jack Hemmings to celebrate his achievement.
Joining names such as Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, Jim Lovell, commander of Apollo 13, and the Red Arrows, Stuart’s was added to the list of inspiring men and women who have used aviation to write history.
Acknowledged for his determination to use aviation as a force help to the world’s poorest and remotest communities, Stuart was recognised for pioneering and expanding MAF in the aftermath of WWII. MAF has now become the world’s largest humanitarian airline.
Today, MAF operates more than 130 light aircraft in 27 developing countries around the world, where road access is almost non-existent or impassable due to conflict, disaster or environmental factors. In 2018, MAF flew over 8 million miles, carried 157,000 passengers, moved over 6,000 tonnes of freight and supported over 2,000 organisations.
Stuart, who lives in Folkestone and attends MAF events when he can, was honoured to receive his award. Stuart said,
“It is always humbling when we are acknowledged for using our God-given abilities, and receiving this award is a particularly great honour.”
Paul Tacon, Clerk of HCAP, was welcomed by MAF to present Stuart with his award. Commending Stuart for his 75-year service to aviation and the developing world, Paul said,
“Although Stuart is no longer conducting operations, his vision and integrity have created the ethos and professionalism that is MAF today.
“Stuart is an extraordinary and visionary man, who has done so much to enable aviation to bring help and relief to some many of the world’s most disadvantaged people. He is a worthy recipient of the Award of Honour for his outstanding and enduring contribution to aviation.”
Recommended by to the HCAP by Wing Commander Mike Dudgeon, long-term supporter of MAF who attended the celebration, noted Stuart’s resolve and steadfast Christian faith. Mike said,
“If not for Stuart’s determination, thousands of people wouldn’t have been helped in some of the remotest places. It’s wonderful that Stuart’s vision and Christian values are still at the centre of what MAF do today. He is truly an inspirational man and it is a brilliant organisation.”
Stuart’s daughter Rebecca King, who lived the adventure of MAF’s early days as the family pioneered operations in Sudan and Ethiopia, is incredibly proud of her father. Rebecca said,
“Dad’s life motto was always to be the best man he could be in God in every season of his life. He strived to be the best bachelor, then the best husband, the best father and now the best widower. He has always been so determined and committed to MAF. He is an inspiration to us all.”