Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy


The Royal Aero Club Certificates, 1910 – 1950 on

We have today released the Royal Aero Club Certificates, 1910 – 1950 on

About the records.

What are they?

The Royal Aero Club members’ index cards, 1910-1950, and associated photographs are original documents that are stored on behalf of the Royal Aero Club Trust at the Royal Air Force Museum Archive at Hendon.

This collection is unique and represents the pioneer aviators of the early 20th Century, many of whom were instrumental in the founding of the Royal Flying Corps and its successor the Royal Air Force which was founded in April 1918.

The collection is in good order although album no. 4 is missing. The Royal Aero Club Trust is hoping to fill this gap from the index cards when all are digitised.

What do they contain? How many records are there in the collection?

The collection contains an estimated 28,000 index cards with information on the front of each card. There is information for one pilot per card and roughly 40% have an associated photograph on the back of the card. There are also 34 albums organised by certificate number containing 13,000 photographs of pilots. These photographs are arranged four to a page. The collection therefore comprises of approximately 61,000 images, counting the front and back of the index cards separately.

How can the records be searched?

They can be searched by forename, surname, date or place of birth or by the certificate number.

How can I find them?

Subscribers to UKI, UK Deluxe and World Deluxe can access the database in the UK Directories and membership.

Which areas do the records cover?

The majority of the people in the records are British but there are many different nationalities from all over the world including Poland, Russia, United States, Egypt and France.

Are there any famous or notorious people in the records?

There are many famous pioneer aviators, both men and women, as well as many different nationalities listed in the collection. For example;

John Theodore Cuthbert Moore-Brabazon, pioneer aviator and motorist who contributed to the development of aerial photography while serving with the Royal Flying Corps during WW1. In 1909 Brabazon made the first authenticated powered flight by a Briton in Britain. He also made the first live cargo flight at Muswell Manor, tying a bucket under his aeroplane and putting a live pig inside it. Subsequently he was given pilot’s licence No. 1.

Charles Rolls, co-founder of Rolls Royce and The Royal Aero Club. He was the second person to be licensed by the club. In 1903 he received the Gordon Bennett Gold Medal for the longest single flight time and in 1910 he made the fastest non-stop double crossing of the English Channel in 95 minutes. Later that year he became the first Briton to be killed in an air crash when the tail broke off his Wright Flyer at Bournemouth.

Sir Thomas Octave Murdoch Sopwith, pioneering aviator and celebrated yachtsman. In 1910 Sopwith won a £4,000 prize for making the longest flight from England to the Continent in a British-built aircraft, achieving 169 miles in 3 hours and 40 minutes. In June 1912 he set up The Sopwith Aviation Company which was responsible for key WW1 aircraft such as the Sopwith Camel. Knighted in 1953, his 100th birthday was marked by a fly-pass of military aircraft over his home. Sopwith died January 27 1989 aged 101.

Sources: Royal Aero Club Certificates, 1910 – 1950 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2008. Original data: The Royal Aero Club Trust, in the care of the Royal Air Force Museum Archive, Hendon, England.

Date range of the records: 1910 – 1950

Geography of records: Worldwide but predominantly UK.

Total number of images: 61,000

Total number of records: 28,504

Search them now!


Andrew Burch

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