Everybody agrees it is nice to be recognised.
In Aviation circles, in New Zealand, we recognise innovation in the industry through the awarding of a Richard Pearse Trophy.
Richard Pearse was a pioneer Kiwi aviator. His first aircraft which he flew about the same time as the Wright Brothers, was full of innovations that we see on most aircraft today. His aircraft was steered by rudder and ailerons and sat on a tricycle undercarriage, driven by a tractor propeller. His engine was a horizontally opposed twin cylinder of his own design, and apparently had about the best power to weight ratio on the planet at the time. The legend is that he cast over 100 aluminium pistons before he got one just right.
Pearse managed to get the take off sorted and made a number of flights, however he’s be the first to say they weren’t successful, because while he could take off OK, inevitably his landing involved a collision with a gorse or pine hedge.
Despite this his innovations were world class at the time. After Pearse passed away, when cleaning out his garage in Wildberry Street in Christchurch the remains of his “Vertiplane” where found. This aircraft, that he was developing during WW2 was based on the concept of an engine that tilted to give vectored thrust for take off and transitioned to horizontal for normal flight. Shades of the Harrier and Osprey thinking there…
At the Aviation New Zealand Gala Awards Dinner this year (2019) Flight GSE Ltd was honoured to be given a Pearse Award for the innovation we bring to our industry in the design and development of aviation Ground Support Equipment. To our peers in the industry in New Zealand we take this opportunity to express our grateful thanks for this honour.