A familiar and seemingly eternal presence in Australian aviation safety has notched up a remarkable milestone. G. A. ‘Peter’ Lloyd celebrates his 100th birthday today, 15 December. He marked his centenary yesterday with a tandem parachute jump over Canberra.
Australian pilots, aircrew and passengers owe Peter Lloyd a debt that most are unaware of. He helped found the Safeskies conference and over 25 years has built the biennial gathering of pilots, engineers, experts and managers into an agenda-defining event.
Lloyd has had a long career in the service of aviation and his country. As a soldier in World War II he served in the Middle East and the south-west Pacific and was mentioned in dispatches (MiD). He learned to fly in 1955 and accumulated 11,000 hours while also serving as president of the Royal Aero Club of NSW. For 12 years he was also president of the Federation of Australian Aero Clubs, increasing membership from eight to 82 clubs, and encouraging the development of other aviation sports including gliding, ballooning, parachuting, hang-gliding and model aircraft. He later became president of the Federation Aéronautique Internationale, (FAI) and in this capacity assisted with the repatriation of teenage pilot Mathias Rust, who flew a Cessna 172 from Finland, to Red Square Moscow, in 1987.
Among his many awards are an Order of the British Empire (OBE), Officer of the Order of Australia and Companion of the Order of Australia (AC). He has been twice awarded Australian aviation’s highest honour, the Oswald Watt Gold Medal. In recent years blindness has prevented him from flying, but he maintains an intense and analytical interest in aviation.
COVID-19 has delayed the next Safeskies conference until 2022, but we very much hope, in his 102nd year, that we can hear from him then.