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Australian Aviation picks up media awards

written by | December 5, 2011

Geoffrey Thomas with Cathay Pacific's Dane Cheng and Airservices Australia's Rob Walker. (Seth Jaworski)


Australian Aviation senior contributor Geoffrey Thomas has been named 2011 Aviation Journalist of the Year as the magazine picked up a number of honours at the 12th annual Australian and New Zealand Aviation Media Awards on Friday evening.

Thomas, who was honoured for his work in AA and Air Transport World, was also awarded Aviation Feature of the Year for his story “What damage done? The QF32 catastrophic uncontained failure,” which ran in the January/February 2011 edition of AA. He was named runner up for Technical Story of the Year.

AA deputy editor Andrew McLaughlin won News Story of the Year for “Examining the logical option,” a column exploring the motives behind Defence Minister Stephen Smith’s speculation that the F/A-18 Super Hornet provided a ‘logical option’ to mitigate delays in the F-35 JSF program. McLaughlin was also honoured as runner-up for Aviation Defence Story of the Year for a piece that ran in AA’s sister publication, Australian Defence Business Review, and was a finalist for Journalist of the Year. McLaughlin was named Journalist of the Year last year.

AA managing editor Gerard Frawley was named runner-up for Feature of the Year for his profile of Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti. Frawley was also commended in the defence category, as was former AA staffer Michael Serenc. Contributor Paul Sadler was commended for photography.


The awards were presented by the National Aviation Press Club and sponsored by Cathay Pacific, Airservices Australia, Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Embraer, Hawker Pacific, Qantas and Australian International Airshow 2013. The winner of the Journalist of the Year category was given a $5000 cash prize and a pair of business class tickets courtesy of Cathay Pacific. Winners in other categories received $2500 while runners-up received $1250.

A complete list of the awards follows.

Aviation Journalist of the Year

Winner:             Geoffrey Thomas, Australian Aviation & Air Transport World

Runner-up:      Andrew Cleary, Australian Financial Review

Finalists: Geoffrey Thomas, Andrew Cleary, Andrew McLaughlin, Tom Ballantyne, Matt O’Sullivan, Stewart Wilson

Aviation News Story of the Year

Winner:           Andrew McLaughlin, “Examining the logical option” Australian Aviation

Runner-up:      Andrew Cleary, “Qantas plans Asian airline” Australian Financial Review

Highly commended: Matt O’Sullivan, Sydney Morning Herald; Geoffrey Thomas, Air Transport World; Peter Clark Aviation News NZ

Aviation Feature of the Year

Winner:           Geoffrey Thomas,“What damage done? The QF32 catastrophic uncontained failure” Australian Aviation

Runner-up:      Gerard Frawley, “Change agent: Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti” Australian Aviation

Highly commended:  Adrian Schofield, Aviation Week; Matt O’Sullivan, Sydney Morning Herald; Tom Ballantyne, Orient Aviation; Andrew Cleary, Australian Financial Review

Aviation Technical Story of the Year

Winner:           Paul Phelan, “Birds? What birds?” Aviation Advertiser

Runner-up:      Geoffrey Thomas, “Black Swan: Training for the unexpected in an age of automation” Australian Aviation

Highly commended: Nigel Pittaway, Asia Pacific Defence Reporter, Matt O’Sullivan, Sydney Morning Herald; Andrew Cleary, Australian Financial Review

Aviation Defence Story of the Year

Winner:           Rob Neil, “A Grizzly future for the RNZAF?” Pacific Wings

Runner-up:      Andrew McLaughlin, “Air 5402-closing in on contact” Australian Defence Business Review

Highly commended: Gerard Frawley, Australian Defence Business Review; Michael Serenc, Australian Aviation; Stewart Wilson, Aero Australia

Aviation Photograph of the Year

Winner:             Nigel Pittaway, “Super Hornet plus Hornet” RAAF 90th Anniversary Special

Runner-up:      Derek Flynn, “Q300 nose grind” Marlborough Express

Highly commended: Paul Sadler, Australian Aviation; Peter Clark, Aviation News NZ; Will Horton, Flightglobal

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