The Jack Finnimore Award

Jack Finnimore, a leading design and development engineer, was asked by City University (now City, University of London) in 1974 to appraise the thesis prepared by final year undergraduates in their Air Transport degree courses. He involved some Branch officers, including the Secretary, Ash Hughes. In 1980, it was decided to award prizes of aeronautical books to the best three students and invite them to present 30 minute lectures, based on their thesis, at a Branch lecture meeting.

Jack Finnimore personally purchased many early prizes, later supplemented by books he persuaded publishers to donate, particularly when he was Secretary-General and later Executive Director of Society of Licensed Aircraft Engineers and Technologists (SLAET). The Branch rapidly expanded the selection of candidates by appraising aeronautical students of Southall Technical College and other Universities. The student lectures became a firm feature of the annual programme, being combined with the Branch AGM.

The awards are intended to encourage young engineers to carry out comprehensive investigations and to give effective public presentations. Candidates have to be members of colleges, universities, the armed forces, firms or individuals under the age of 27 (later modified to under the age of 30) at the time of the presentation to the Heathrow Branch.

Papers are prepared on an aeronautical subject, including design, operations, maintenance, organisation, costing, planning or other related subjects, which might be part of a recognised college course. The best three presentations, judged on originality, subject and relevance, are selected for the Young Engineers Awards, and later delivered to an appreciative audience prior to the Branch AGM in April. The presenters are given prizes of book tokens and diplomas.

Originally known as the Student Lectures, they were renamed in 1985 becoming “The Jack Finnimore Young  Engineer Awards”, acknowledging Jack’s lifelong interest in helping fledgling engineers achieve their potential. In 1986, engraved tankards were awarded to the three student lecturers and similar prizes have been regularly awarded ever since.

Jack Finnimore [MVO, CEng, FRAeS, FCIT], trained with Fairey Aviation, moving to General Aircraft Ltd. as Design Section Leader on the first British experimental pressure cabin. He joined the technical branch of Imperial Airways and was British Oversea Airways Corporation (BOAC)’s Design Superintendent from 1941-58; subsequently he was Aircraft Development Manager 1958-70; General Manager Supplies 1970-76; and Assistant to Engineering Director, British Airways. Jack was also a flight safety author and aviation consultant. A founding committee member of the RAeS Heathrow Branch in 1956, Jack has been variously Branch Treasurer (RAeS), Chairman (RAeS & SLAET) and SLAET Branch President. He was Executive Director of SLAET 1978-83 and editor of their magazine, “Tech Air”.

1994 JF Award_lres

Jack Finnimore (centre), with 1994’s Young Engineers. Presentations covered wet resin repairs, aeronautical telecommunications, external closed-circuit television cameras on short-haul aircraft and the second generation supersonic transport. Also pictured are Heathrow Branch Committee members and lecture organisers, Don Donnelly (left) and Albert Barnes (third from right). The Young Engineers are: Jason Bowley, Hertfordshire; Thomas Fixy, Toulouse; Joe Docherty, Strathclyde; and Paul Godfrey, Bath.