It seems incredible that my Presidential year is fast drawing to its end and I have to say that I have enjoyed every moment of it. During the course of the year I have attended some truly great events at No.4 Hamilton Place, including conferences, Corporate Partner Briefings and prestige lectures; I have visited as many Branches as I possibly could and heard excellent presentations – some of them more than once! I have had the opportunity to visit the facilities of some of our great companies and see the latest developments in design and production but above all the highlight has been the opportunity to meet so many people across every area of our diverse membership. While the Society is, of course, a revered and learned institution, it is also a fantastic club which facilitates immensely valuable networking opportunities for its members.
As President during the past year it has been my job to lead Council in setting the strategy for the Society and laying out our future priorities and goals. Underpinning the strategy has been a drive to modernise our approach and to become even more outward-looking, to improve our image and most of all to find ways to capture the imagination of young people and women to enter our profession and to join the Society.
Both Council and the Executive team have been active in moving this agenda forward during the past year and, as an example, Council approved, at its most recent meeting, a new approach to external affairs. This new approach, overseen by the recently constituted Policy Committee, has the purpose to ensure delivery of more externally-relevant policy products in order for the Society to increase its influence with political and government stakeholders, and grow its profile in the press.
There is plenty to occupy the policy team – we live in a world where the global airline industry continues to grow bringing pressure on cost and performance, airport development and single skies remain pressing issues and the growth of unmanned systems poses a regulatory challenge which we are only just starting to get to grips with. Space exploration is moving ahead more quickly than at any time since the 1960s, while the threats to security are diverse and complex, and the calls on our military are severe. The Society, and the disciplines it represents, may be 150 years old but, set against this background, there has never been a more exciting or challenging time to play our part in contributing to the security and prosperity of our world.
As we celebrate that 150-year history, I can report that the Society is in very good heart, that it continues to attract a growing membership from industry, academia, the Services and government alike, and that it is determined to build upon its reputation as the leading body for aeronautics professionals across the world.
I would like to thank the Council, Board of Trustees, Executive team and staff for their help support and encouragement over the past year and to wish Professor Chris Atkin all the very best for what, I hope, will be an as enjoyable and rewarding year as my own.
Martin Broadhurst OBE MA CDir FIOD FRAeS