The influence of the Club in those early days cannot be over-emphasised. Its members included – and trained – most military pilots up to 1915, when military schools took over. The gift of training facilities and aircraft to the Royal Navy by Francis McLean was the real starting point of the Royal Naval Air Service. From 1910 the Club, which had been granted the Royal prefix that year for its achievements and status, issued Aviators Certificates, internationally recognised under the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. As the United Kingdom representative on that august body, the Club was responsible for control in the UK of all private and sporting flying, as well as records and competitions; a function that, through the Aviation Council embracing some dozen national sporting and educational flying organisations, it fulfils to this day. It borrowed heavily from existing sports such as horse racing for its early regulations; the first air racing rules contained the injunction that "No rider shall interfere with another rider on the course".
At Muswell Manor, Leysdown in 1909. These are some of the earliest pioneer aviators: From left to right standing: The owner of Muswell Manor, Oswald, Horace and Eustace Short, Francis McLean, Griffith Brewer, Frank Hedges Butler, Dr Lockyer, Warwick Wright; seated are JTC Moore-Brabazon, Wilbur and Orville Wright and Charles Rolls.