BAAC History

Formerly called the Association of British Aviation Consultants, the British Association of Aviation Consultants (BAAC) was first suggested in about 1970 by John Grover as an Association of specialist, professional, aviation consultants.

John Herbert Grover, AFRAeS, MinstNa, Upper Freeman of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators (now the Honourable Company of Air Pilots), was Operations Director of Transport Analysis Services Limited, Managing Director of Phoenix Flight Services (Development) Limited, and Managing Director of Miles-Phoenix Limited, all in Ashford, Kent.

John Grover, Harvey Schwartz and Christopher Hamshaw Thomas were consultants to the Civil Aviation Authority, the Air Registration Board and the FAA respectively and were concerned by the standard of advice being given by some consultants. John discussed the possibilities of an association such as the BAAC being a separate section of the Royal Aeronautical Society, with Dr. Archie Ballantyne, the then Secretary to the Society. The enthusiastic Dr. Ballantyne put his proposal to the Council but it was not accepted, chiefly because of the problems with linking a learned, chartered, body with aspects of a commercial enterprise. Undeterred, Dr. Ballantyne discussed the proposals with the Society’s long-time solicitor, Lawrence Wingfield.

Lawrie Wingfield was an even more enthusiastic aviator than Ballantyne, having been the original Clerk to the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators. He rebuilt the Guild virtually single handed following the deaths of almost the entire Court of the Guild in the crash of the R101 Airship. With his characteristic zeal he suggested the appropriate procedures, drew up a constitution and, in company with Grover and Ballantyne, called a series of meetings at the Royal Aeronautical Society’s premises at Hamilton Place.

At this time Sir Peter Masefield, President of the RAeS 1959-1960, became involved and was invited to be President of the Association. Among the enthusiastic Founder members were Dr. Kenneth Bergin of BOAC, John W.S. Branker sometime of IATA, Alan Stratford ex BEA Whitworth-Gloster Aircraft and Hawker Siddley and Alastair Tucker, an already established aviation consultant.

A formal Deed of Incorporation of the Association of British Aviation Consultants (ABAC), drawn up by Lawrie Wingfield, was completed and signed on 25th July 1972. John Grover, the moving spirit and inaugural Founder member, was appointed the first Chairman with Neville Birch as Hon. Secretary; Alastair Tucker became Hon. Treasurer of the ABAC’s slender funds. From the start, the style “Registered Aviation Consultant” was authorised by the Council as an appropriate designation for full members, and as an important indication of their professional role.

John Grover completed a vigorous, dedicated and hard working two years of the initial Chairmanship of the new Association, which established the ABAC on a sound basis. During this time he was supported by Lawrie Wingfield as Company Secretary and Founder Council member Neville Birch as assistant Secretary. The Kate and Lawrie Wingfield Award commemorates his achievements in aviation. When John Grover handed over the Chair in 1974 to Ronald Purvis, he was invited to continue his membership of the Council and was appointed Executive Secretary for two years.

Sir Peter Masefield served as President from 1972 to 1993, during which time the ABAC changed to the more appropriate name of British Association of Aviation Consultants (BAAC) in order to prevent nationality being a bar to membership. During this time, in 1991, the Association was incorporated as the “British Association of Aviation Consultants” under the Companies Act 1985 and 1989 as a company limited by guarantee.

In 1994 Sir Peter became the first Patron of the BAAC and handed over the Presidency to the Rt. Hon. The Lord Trefgarne, PC, an active and long-time holder of an Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence, a former Minister of State for Defence Procurement (1986-1989) and President of the Popular Flying Association.

Lord Trefgarne has proved an enthusiastic driving force to support the aims of the Association; he has taken steps to improve the administration, heighten its profile to the industry, and increase the membership.