It is a great honour to have been elected as your President for the next year and I am looking forward to a busy and exciting time. Firstly I must thank Bill Tyack for his tireless efforts over the past year and praise him for the leadership he has shown. I have a hard act to follow.
I am pleased to say that my Presidency coincides with a period that sees the Society in very good heart. It is clear from the attendance at this year’s banquet that we continue to enjoy support at the highest levels of government, industry and academia. It is also clear from the breadth and quality of our output and events at national and branch level that we are delivering strongly as a vibrant learned society and I have taken it as one of the challenges for my Presidential year to continue to improve our use of digital media to ensure that the vast range of content is made available even more widely.
Over the course of the past year, I have been working with Council and staff colleagues to review our strategy and in writing my first piece for AEROSPACE I wanted to reflect on one aspect of the Society’s purpose as embodied in our ‘strap line’ which runs:
“We are the world’s only learned society dedicated
to the entire aerospace community.”
This is important — we are not purely a society of engineers and aviators, although, of course, both those groups are immensely important. Our remit runs across a huge range of activity as evidenced by our 24 Specialist Groups encompassing, among many others — air law, air power, air medicine, air traffic, space, unmanned systems and weapon systems. In other words the whole of the wider community with a connection to aerospace and aviation.
Despite this broad appeal our recruitment of younger members is not as successful as we would like. We need to find new ways of connecting with the under 30s. Not just the engineers seeking chartered status but the buyers, the contract staff, the facilities people and many other disciplines. They are all equally part of our aerospace and aviation community and should share in the peer recognition that membership brings, but more importantly be enjoined in the ethos of professionalism so well promoted by the Society.
During my year the Society will major on unmanned systems and this will be the subject of the President’s Conference in October this year. Apart from the normal focus on platforms we will seek to engage with partners in the tech sector to develop a deeper understanding of applications and will encourage debate around some of the ethical and societal challenges along with the implications for traditional professions and skills.
The Society and the disciplines it represents may be 150 years old but here has never been a more exciting or challenging time to play our part in contributing to the security and prosperity of the world in which we live.
I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible during the next 12 months.
Martin Broadhurst OBE MA CDir FIOD FRAeS