The cross is awarded to an officer or a Warrant Officer for an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying, but not while in active operations against an enemy.

A bar is awarded for an additional act which would have warranted the AFC. The straight slip-on silver bar has an eagle in the centre. The year of the award is engraved on the reverse.

A silver cross (1.625" across), shaped as a thunderbolt in the form of a cross, the arm terminates with a bomb. The cross is surmounted by another cross composed of aeroplane propeller blades, with the ends of the four blades enscribed with the Royal Cypher. For the WWII DFCs the letters G (top), R (left), VI (bottom), and I (right) and for the Korea DFCs E (top), II (left), R (right), and the bottom blank. The top arm is ensigned by an Imperial Crown. 

In the centre of the obverse is a roundel displaying Hermes, mounted on a hawk in flight, bestowing a wreath.

Within a central circle, the current Royal Cypher (GV, GVI, EIIR) above the date 1918. The year of award appears on the lower arm. 

A small link at the top of the crown attaches to a slot in two sprigs of laurel firming the underside of a straight clasp.

The ribbon is 1.25 inches wide, and consists of alternating red and white stripes (0.125 wide) leaning to the left at 45 degrees from the vertical. The red colour is to appear in the bottom left and upper right corners when viewed on the wearer's chest. Until 1919, the stripes were horizontal. 

The medals are issued unnamed.

The award was established on 03 June 1918, the birthday of King George V. 

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