The prestigious Phoenix Group Diploma for 2018 has been awarded to the builder and team for their ‘remarkable achievement in building a faithful replica of Waterbird’ by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (‘FAI’) – the World Air Sports Federation.

The Diploma, established by the FAI in 1990, is awarded for the best reconstruction or restoration of a vintage (more than 30 years old) aircraft achieved by a group of any size or description (e.g. museum, sponsored group, society, company). Each FAI Member may annually submit the name of one candidate for considerationOnly one Group Diploma is conferred each year– In the ensuing 28 years, it has only been awarded 13 times.

In the UK, the Royal Aero Club (‘RAeC’) began issuing Aviators’ Certificates in 1910, internationally recognised under the FAI. For example, the Aviator’s Certificate of Donald Macaskie who passed his tests at Windermere on 8 September 1915, having trained on a hydro-aeroplane from the outset, includes the first line: ‘Fédération Aéronautique Internationale’ and the diagonal endorsement at top left as a ‘Hydro-aeroplane’ Certificate, with the RAeC details at the foot which issued Certificate No.1788 on 24 September. For his fate, please click here. The RAeC is still the UK representative on the FAI, albeit pilot licences are now issued by the Civil Aviation Authority.

On 28 January 1913, Edward Wakefield, who commissioned Waterbird, accompanied the RAeC representatives, Riger Wallace and Harold Perrin, at an Extraordinary Conference of the FAI held in Paris, when the Hydro-aeroplane Certificate was established, and also the Schneider Trophy for an annual international seaplane contest was accepted and the rules passed. The first two British Hydro-aeoplane Certificates were awarded to Windermere pupils.