StarSpeed News

Innovations in Helicopter Safety Management bring Top Industry Accolade

19/11/2014 16:52:00


Innovations in Safety Management bring top Award

Our Director, Simon Mitchell, has been awarded a top accolade for his contribution to improving safety standards within the Helicopter Industry.

The British Helicopter Association’s Eric Brown award is given to the individual considered to have made the greatest and most significant contribution to the British Helicopter industry during the past year.  This year Dr. Simon Mitchell was selected to receive the honour at the BHA’s Annual Dinner at the Institute of Directors earlier this month.

The award is named after Captain Eric “Winkle” Brown CBE, DSC, AFC, MA, FRAeS, RN (Ret’d), a former Royal Navy test pilot and the Fleet Air Arm’s most decorated pilot.

Simon said: “Eric Brown is one of the most remarkable pilots, the things he has experienced throughout his life, his achievements and contribution to this country are humbling; let alone his record of having completed 2407 flight deck landings, one of the most difficult things a pilot can do.”

“I am unbelievably proud to have been presented with this award.”

Simon Mitchell, who became Managing Director of Starspeed Limited earlier this year also holds the title of Visiting Fellow at the prestigious Cranfield University’s Safety and Accident Investigation Centre. The Centre is at the forefront of developing safety management systems within the aviation industry.

Simon’s particular interest is in rotary aircraft safety management, having been a helicopter pilot for over 27 years: A career that began with the Fleet Air Arm in 1987, flying Sea Kings and includes experience as a commercial pilot flying for the offshore oil and gas industry and onshore with the London Metropolitan Police Service before joining Starspeed in 2005.

Reflecting Eric Brown’s own views, Simon’s safety mantra is “rigorous and thorough preparation is crucial for every flight, bar none.”

Simon is a regular commentator on aviation safety and has appeared on ITV, BBC and international television networks.

Starspeed Ltd is the largest helicopter management, charter and training company in Europe. It presently operates 15 aircraft and is one of the oldest privately owned firms within the onshore market. As well as running advanced pilot training, it is in the process of developing specialist courses that focus upon safety within increasingly automated cockpits and training in deck landing on superyachts.

Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown was Kirsty Young’s guest on Desert Island Discs on Friday 14 November 2014- the programme's 3000th edition. Here’s a link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/b04nvgq1

Media, for more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Liz George on +44 7866 364966 or

Claire van Heerden on +44 7989 286756


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