Over the course of the last month I had the opportunity to visit three great Branch events starting with the Sir Arthur Marshall Lecture given by Alan Newby FRAeS of Rolls-Royce at Churchill College Cambridge. It was another brilliant evening organised by Mike Hawkins FRAeS and the Cambridge Committee. Mike is stepping down from his role as Branch Chairman in April and on behalf of the Society I would wish to record our gratitude for all his efforts over many years. Equally Ron Carr AMRAeS and the team at Coventry do a great job and celebrated the Branch’s 90th anniversary at a dinner and lecture (given by Society Past President Sir Colin Terry FRAeS) on 25 February. Early in March I spent the evening with the Swindon and Defence Academy Shrivenham Branch for the Sir George Greenhill Lecture which celebrated their 60th anniversary. There was an Air Power theme to the evening with lectures from Dr David Jordan FRAeS and Air Marshal Sir Baz North OBE FRAeS covering the past, present and future from early balloons to the potential unmanned systems of the 2030s and beyond. During the course of my Presidential year, I have visited nearly 30 Branches so far and I am very pleased to report that our Branch system is flourishing and with an added zest during this 150th year of the Society. This is due to the selfless efforts of volunteer committee members across the network who do such great work. I am looking forward to meeting many of you at the Branches Conference at No.4 Hamilton Place in May.
The Presidential theme for my year has been unmanned air systems (UAS) and I have been keen to take every opportunity to promote the position of the Society as an authoritative contributor on this subject. In furtherance of this aim, I was pleased to take part in a three-way event between the RAeS, Tech UK (the trade association representing many of the users of commercial UAS applications) and Bird & Bird (one of the leading aerospace law firms) during which we sought to bring together differing interest groups to debate UAS platform technology, tech applications and legal and regulatory issues. I am certain that the Society has a duty to engage with the tech community to help ensure that there is a broad understanding of air safety culture and at the same time to learn how thinking is developing around the myriad opportunities for deployment of UAS in commercial operations. There is also a great opportunity for the Society to engage with new potential members, both individual and corporate.
The Society was represented at the Singapore Air Show and attended the Singapore Aerospace Technology and Engineering Conference (SATEC) during the week, providing a good opportunity to engage with government, industry and academic professionals from the region. The RAeS is a well-known and respected brand around the world and we will be considering the Society’s international strategy at our next Council meeting with a view to ensuring that we retain our unique position as “the world’s only society dedicated to the entire aerospace community.”
I am very pleased to see that we have a talented and diverse range of candidates standing for election to Council and I would urge you all to vote.
Martin Broadhurst OBE MA CDir FIOD FRAeS