Award Recipients

  • 1991   Gordon Vette

  • 1992   Mark Milner

  • 1993   Kevin Campbell

  • 1994   No Award

  • 1995   Alan Lang

  • 1996   Stuart Julian,

  •             C. Wilkie,

  •             J. Wilson

  • 1997   No Award

  • 1998   No Award

  • 1999   No Award

  • 2000   Robert J. Scott

  • 2001   Bruce Kivi,

  •             Peter Clements

  • 2002   No Award

  • 2003   Air New Zealand

  • 2004   Edmund Smart

  • 2005   No Award

  • 2006   Paul McCarthy

  • 2007  No Award

  • 2008  No Award

  • 2009  Justice Peter T. Mahon,

  •           Capt. Greg Fallow

  • 2010 No Award

  • 2011 CHCH International Airport

  • 2012 Christchurch Tower ATC's

  • 2013 No Award

  • 2014 No Award

  • 2015 No Award

  • 2016 Mark Everitt

  • 2017 Allan Baker

  • 2018 No Award

  • 2019 No Award

History of the Jim Collins Memorial Award

In 1989, during a speech commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Erebus tragedy, NZALPA President Peter Hensby-Bennett announced the creation of a memorial trophy to be called the “NZALPA Aviation Safety Trophy”. The trophy was to be awarded for significant contributions to aviation safety or for exceptional valour during an emergency.
In 1991 the family of Captain Jim Collins, pilot in command of the Erebus flight, joined with NZALPA to model the Aviation Safety Trophy into the Collins Family Award (since renamed the Jim Collins Memorial Award) for Exceptional Contribution to Aviation Safety. Collins’ eldest daughter presented the new award to NZALPA on 8th October of that year. Kathryn Collins said: “As a conscientious pilot, Captain Jim Collins was always concerned with the absolute safety of his aircraft, passengers and crew and the maintenance of their well-being. As a family, we feel that our father and husband would wish that anyone who had made a significant contribution to aircraft and aviation safety should be encouraged and shown the recognition that they deserve.” Nominations were called for the first conferment of the Award planned for November 28, 1991 – 12 years to the day following the accident.
The first awardee was none other than Captain A. Gordon Vette, discoverer of the optical phenomenon “sector whiteout” and the prime mover towards discovering the deeper malaise affecting the air transportation industry that allowed the Erebus tragedy to occur. Gordon sacrificed his career in this endeavour. While that would have destroyed most men he was hardly fazed, going on to found the Captain A.G. Vette Flight Safety Research Fund. This body’s first task was to find ways in which a forward-facing Ground Proximity Warning System could be developed. As a last resort, had it been available the Erebus accident may have been prevented. Nowadays we have just such a tool, Terrain Awareness Warning System. Up until March 2009, there have been no “controlled flight into terrain” accidents to any aircraft fitted with this invaluable safety device since their introduction in 1996. Gordon’s vision that such a device would indeed provide a strong safety net has been proven by this simple statistic.
Gordon was also instrumental in organising a mid-ocean rescue in 1978 while he was en-route to New Zealand from Fiji whilst in command of his DC10. A ferry pilot in a single-engined Cessna 188 aircraft had become lost en-route from Pago Pago to Norfolk Island. On being informed of this Gordon turned his airliner around and began looking for him. By using old navigation rules of thumb he managed to get close enough to the aircraft to establish VHF radio contact with him and direct him to Norfolk Island. The story was told in the film “Mercy Mission” (1993) starring Scott Bakula as the lost pilot Jay Prochnow, (in the film called Jay Parkins), and Robert Loggia playing Gordon.

Past Recipients

2017 - Allan Baker

Allan Baker, psychologist, was nominated for his significant contribution to the development of the NZALPA Peer Assistance Program and in particular his furthering of a better industry understanding in the specialist area of mental health.

2016 - Mark Everitt

Mark Everitt, former General Manager of the New Zealand Aviation Security Service for 20 years, was nominated for his passion and commitment to New Zealand aviation safety and security and for his ongoing work in helping to improve aviation safety in the Pacific Islands.

2012 - Christchurch Tower Air Traffic Controllers

The Christchurch Air Traffic Controllers were nominated for their professionalism and courage while on duty at the time when a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck on 22nd February 2011. Whilst havoc reigned in the Christchurch region, the Christchurch controllers just ‘got on with it’ and recommenced operations after only a short period.

2011 - Christchurch International Airport

Christchurch International Airport received the award for their exceptional work in refining emergency responses and in particular for developing a swift and effective communication system to all aviation decision-makers at the airport throughout the ongoing period of earthquakes

2009 - Capt. Greg Fallow

Captain Greg Fallow is a Boeing 777 captain for Air New Zealand who has made a tremendous contribution to aviation safety over the years. An IFALPA accredited accident investigator, Capt. Fallow is well known for his contribution to safety in the aviation community and is accepted as a leading subject matter expert in human factors and fatigue management.

2009 - Hon. Justice Peter T. Mahon (Posthumously)

Justice Peter Thomas Mahon QC received the 2009 Jim Collins Award for his exceptional contribution to aviation safety. Justice Mahon’s controversial 1981 Royal Commission of Inquiry report into the 1979 Erebus air accident in Antarctica, cited organisational failure, ‘administration errors made by the Navigation Division’,  as the primary factor of the accident, and exonerated the pilots from the blame that was apportioned to them in the 1980 Chippindale Report.

Please click here to view the presentation of the 2009 Jim Collins Award to Margarita Mahon.

2006 - Captain Paul McCarthy

Captain Paul McCarthy is a retired Delta Airlines captain who has made significant contributions to the civil aviation industry in New Zealand and in the US. His expertise in accident investigation, CVR analysis, legal and regulatory affairs has been utilised in NZ and abroad. He has been a long standing member of IFALPA, volunteering his knowledge on safety issues. His expertise was also utilised in the investigation in the 1995 Dash 8 accident in Palmerston North.


2004 – Ed Smart

Ed was an important participant in establishing a Controlled Flight Into Terrain programme [CFIT] for world aviation. We now have 20,000 airliners fitted with Enhanced Ground Proximity warning Systems [EGPWS] and have not had a CFIT accident of an EGPWS aircraft since the fitment of this equipment. Ed Smart has been vital to the continued improvement of safety in the air around New Zealand skies for many years. 


2003 – Air New Zealand

The Air New Zealand investigating officers of the NZ60 ILS incident at Apia of 29 July 2000 did an outstanding job in determining the causes of the incident. For their perseverance and thoroughness in preparing the detailed report and recommendations they deserve the thanks and admiration of the operational crews and the wider aviation community. In acknowledging the work of the individual investigators, the Trustees wished to recognise the contribution made by Air New Zealand in encouraging this type of enquiry, for making available facilities and aircraft for flight testing, for arranging the advice and expertise of other experts, for preparing a training package and video and for making the report and video available to aviation interests worldwide. 


2001 – Captain Bruce Kivi

Captain Kivi persisted in maintaining the pilot position with regard to the safety issues in instituting major reductions in longitudinal and lateral separation. It resulted in the appropriate trials taking place and a more gradual implementation of reduced separations standards. The policy promoted by Captain Kivi to avoid unproven procedures being unilaterally introduced played a major part in ensuring the ongoing safety of flight in the Pacific Oceanic skies. 

2001- Peter Clements

Peter had almost single handedly produced 27 safety videos through his own company Dove Videos. In his own words “if they save just one life they have been worth it.” Peter’s ethic in aviation has always been safety first. His priority has always been the desire to promote flight safety through this medium, and he has achieved outstanding results with the budgetary constraints. 


2000- Robert Scott

Robert Scott was recommended for outstanding airmanship throughout his flying career, in particular selection and training of pilots. Robert contributed to the safety of pilots trained in agricultural flying both helicopters and fixed wing. 


1996 – Jim Wilson

His nominator described him as testimony to Helicopters NZ safety record, due to having Jim draw up the operations standards and manuals. Notably his work and visits to the Antarctic from 1979 and the procedures and documented standards that he set were also mentioned as contributing to his company’s high standing. His work with the 1995/96 Australian Antarctic Contract flying Sikorsky S-76A helicopters flying single pilot long range tasks up to 500nm was also noted in the nomination. 


1996 – Craig Wilkie

His Nominator put his name forward as a person who had performed an act of exceptional airmanship. The nomination gave a detailed account of the Flight Assist of ZK DHS on 19 October 1995, where an aircraft with 5 passengers aboard, had an iced windscreen and was unsure of his position. His nominator noted that his calm and encouraging manner were the key elements to the eventual safe outcome of the assist. Craig throughout the ordeal continued his fantastic airmanship with reminders to scan, to check wings’ level, while reminding the pilot to continue “to fly the aircraft”. 



1996 – Captain Stu Julian

Captain Stu Julian has made significant contributions to the cause of safety in Civil Aviation. Captain Julian is one of our modest, frequently unheralded professionals who work quietly in the background on extremely important projects. Stu has a long history of actively and effectively supporting technical issues on behalf of NZALPA. Stu has actively been an advocate for more safety systems in aircrafts and is a respected professional in the field of aviation safety.


1995 – Alan Lang

Alan Lang is Auckland International Airport Ltd’s Wildlife Hazard Officer. Auckland Airport is sited on largely reclaimed land and as a result there is a potential danger from birds. His Nominator drew attention to dedication to the development of bird scaring techniques and his management of the environment to ensure the total bird numbers attracted to the airfield were reduced. 


1993 - Mr Kevin and Mrs Susan Campbell

The Campbell's were involved in the investigation of the United 811 air crash in which their son along with 8 other passengers lost their lives. They rejected the findings of the original report, and their own individual investigation (which took them 40,000km around America) and perseverance paid off in determining that the original cause of the accident, cargo doors incorrectly locked, was not the cause but actually an electrical malfunction had caused it. 


1992 - Mark Milner

Mark Milner was a Safety Officer with the Auckland International Airport Company and was described by his Nominator as being devoted to establishing and maintaining, at Auckland International Airport, airside and landside practices and procedures for the safe movement of ground personnel and equipment. Also noted was the Airside Driving Course and Permit scheme which he instigated along with his planning, implementation and evaluation of the Airport Emergency Procedures and the many training seminars and emergency exercises that have been held. 


1991 - Captain Alwyn Gordon Vette

Nominations drew attention to Captain Vette’s coordination and command of a rescue mission in the Pacific which earned him the Johnston Memorial Award from the Guild of Air Pilots and the President’s Award from the McDonnell Douglas Corporation, his independent research into the causes of the Erebus accident, his publication and production of a book and video on the Erebus disaster (Impact Erebus) – proceeds from which go to the Captain A G Vette Flight Safety Research Fund, his assistance to students working on aviation safety matters, his continuing contribution to areas of ergonomics and human factors in flight safety and his active membership of the New Zealand Psychological Society – specialising in aviation psychology. Gordon was the recipient of a Presidential Citation from the International Federation of Airline Pilots' Associations at their annual conference in Auckland, March 2009.

Click here to view 'Impact Erebus II'

Click here to view Gordon receiving a Presidential Citation from IFALPA in March 2009