Background: The Air Force Cross (AFC) was introduced by King George V on 3 June 1918 as an award to officers and Warrant Officers in the newly formed RAF for an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying, though not in active operations against the enemy. After WW2, eligibility for the AFC was widened to include flying officers of the Army and Navy. The AFC is now the Level 3 non-operational award given to all ranks of the Services in recognition of exemplary gallantry while flying, not in the presence of the enemy. During WW1 approximately 680 AFCs were awarded and in WW2 a total of 2,001 awards were made, with 26 first bars awarded. The AFC may be awarded posthumously.

Design: The decoration is a silver cross, 60 mm high and 54 mm wide, representing aircraft propeller blades, with wings between the arms. The obverse depicts Hermes, riding on the wings of a hawk holding a laurel wreath. At the top of the upper arm is the royal crown, while the other three arms bear the royal cypher of the reigning monarch at the time of issue. The suspender is straight and decorated with laurel wreaths. The ribbon was originally white with broad red horizontal stripes, but changed in 1919 to the current white with broad red diagonal stripes at a 45-degree angle.

Bars: Personnel who perform a further act of such gallantry which would have merited the award of a second AFC are issued with a silver bar. When the ribbon alone is worn, a silver rosette is worn centrally on the ribbon.