The Stewart Lecture was established in 1969 to honour the life and work of Air Vice Marshal W K Stewart CB CBE AFC BSc MB ChB MRCP. Air Vice Marshal W K Stewart CB CBE AFC BSc MB ChB MRCP, who joined the staff of the RAF Physiology Laboratory in 1940 and commanded the RAF Institute of Aviation Medicine (which the RAF Physiological Laboratory became) from 1947 until his death in 1967. Over the years Stewart lecturers have recognised the contribution of many aviation medicine specialists and aviators to flight safety. This year’s lecture recognised the contribution made by a group of onboard safety professionals who are often overlooked, the cabin crew. The discussion considered the qualities and capabilities, including medical standards, required in the selection and training of crew. Examples of individual heroism and professional teamwork illustrated their importance and impact as a key link in the safety chain. 

About the speaker:

Dr Nigel Dowdall, Head of Aviation Health Unit, CAA

Nigel Dowdall joined the RAF as a medical cadet in 1979 while studying at the University of Edinburgh and entered productive service in 1982. During fourteen years of service he completed training in General Practice and Occupational Medicine, obtained the Diploma in Aviation Medicine and saw operational service in Northern Ireland and in Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War. In 1996 he retired from the RAF in the rank of Wing Commander and joined British Airways as an Occupational Physician. During his thirteen years at British Airways he had particular responsibility for in-flight medical care, including cabin crew medical training, and led the programme to introduce cardiac defibrillators. In 2004 he was appointed Director Health Services. After leaving British Airways in 2010, he held part-time posts with AXA Assistance, responsible for Aeromedical Evacuation and repatriation services, and in the Aeromedical Section at the Civil Aviation Authority, until appointed to his present role as Head of the Aviation Health Unit at the Civil Aviation Authority. During his career he has played an active role in the Aerospace Medical Association, including three years as Chair of the Air Transport Medicine Committee, served on the International Air Transport Association Medical Advisers Group, and has been an examiner for the Diploma in Aviation Medicine. 

Royal Aeronautical Society
1 August 2012