Director of Civil Aviation Awards

The Director of Civil Aviation Awards are presented each year to an individual and an organisation with an overwhelming safety ethos. The winners have gone out of their way to do the right thing. Their actions have directly resulted in safety standards being raised, and they have encouraged others in the aviation industry to do the same.

The Awards are open to all individuals, and to operators and organisations involved in aviation in New Zealand.

The award for the individual features a hand throwing a dart. The dart represents a generic aircraft. The hand is throwing the spirit of aviation forward into the future.

The award for the group or organisation features a pair of hands catching the dart, or generic aircraft. The hands represent aviation safety, the actions of keeping the dart from falling to the ground, protecting it.

The trophies were sculpted by New Zealand artist, Peter Roche of Auckland, and were first presented in 1995.


2018 Director's Awards

Three outstanding aviators were recognised for their contribution to aviation safety at the 2018 Director of Civil Aviation Awards.

Flight Instructor Award

Mark Watson, Chief Pilot and Director of Wyndon Aviation

Mark has more than 20 years’ experience as a flight examiner of candidates flying helicopters and fixed wing aircraft for agricultural operations.

Mark is experienced in testing the knowledge and skills of budding commercial pilots and flight instructors, and has conducted himself at the highest standard in his flight instruction responsibilities. He has flown some 24,000 hours in his career to date.

His pragmatic and safety-focussed methodology and positive, approachable demeanour has endeared him to candidates, instructors, managers and regulators alike and he is a greatly respected professional within the fabric of New Zealand flight training.

Award for an Organisation

Oceania Aviation

Oceania Aviation has demonstrated a practical desire to improve safety not only within its own business but across the entire New Zealand aviation sector. It has implemented Safety Management Systems (SMS) in its own organisation and throughout other organisations in the company’s group. This has involved three certificated organisations, four certificate types and multiple bases.

Led by CEO, Don McCracken, Oceania Aviation has demonstrated a strong, positive safety culture and active participation in developing its SMS. It has provided an excellent example of how an SMS can be implemented and a willingness to share this experience with others.

Award for an Individual

Alan Beck, CEO and Chief Pilot of Beck Helicopters

Alan is one of New Zealand’s most experienced agricultural and specialist lift pilots, with more than 20,000 flying hours in Bell 47, Bell 206 and Bell Iroquois helicopters, carrying out a variety of aerial work and air transport operations.

Alan is a former chairman of the NZ Agricultural Aviation Association, and initiated the Down to the Wire campaign alerting farmers to the risk wires pose to agricultural pilots. A wire-strike victim himself, he broke his back when the helicopter he was flying struck wires in 1992.

He expanded the Down to the Wire campaign nationally, getting ambassadors’ support for it across New Zealand. He has contributed a significant amount of his time and personal money supporting the campaign, actively encouraging farmers to take down their wires and has personally delivered Down to the Wire certificates to them. He and the campaign have been game changers for wire safety in New Zealand.



Director of Civil Aviation Awards - Earlier Recipients