April 2014

Another highlight of my Presidential year has been my recent visit to Singapore — a very busy three days! I visited the Singapore Aerospace Technology and Engineering Conference (SATEC) 2014, which was well attended by people from across the region, from Australasia, Europe and the US, and where my speech on ‘The Technology and Skills Challenges facing Aerospace’ was well received. The need to encourage young people to study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects at school (see Mind the skills gap, pp 18-21) and move into professional engineering careers was endorsed by most present, as was the need for research to inform education. During the conference we heard about technology development and its drivers from across the world and from all related sectors — military and civil, manned and unmanned, airframe and engines. During my visit to the Singapore Air Show (see show report pp 26-31) I was pleased to meet a number of existing and potential Corporate Partners. I was also pleased to present Mr Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airlines, with his certificate of Fellowship on board a Qatar Airlines 787 Dreamliner. I was particularly delighted to meet with a number of ‘local’ members of the Society from Singapore, Malaysia and Australia and we had a fascinating tour of the Rolls-Royce facilities at Seletar Aerospace Park. We are hoping to re-invigorate the Singapore Branch with help from our ‘sister’ organisation, the Singapore Institute of Aerospace Engineers.

During my visit, I also managed to visit both the Airbus Helicopter Facility which services the region and have a very useful meeting with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) about accreditation, membership and registration opportunities. Singapore clearly has a vibrant and thriving aerospace and aviation community. On my return to UK I was glad to be able to present Paul Tan, Regional Vice President Europe, Singapore Airlines, with his certificate of Fellowship of the Society.

Our engagement with both the Defence Growth Partnership (DGP) and the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP) continues. Skills requirements — both the pipeline and roadmap — will be good activities for us to be involved with. I chaired the first day of the AGP Technology Showcase with speakers from all aspects of aerospace, as well as keynote speeches from the joint chairs of the AGP — Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP, Minister of State for Business and Enterprise in the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills, and Marcus Bryson, CEO GKN Aerospace. I was also pleased to introduce the recently appointed Chair of the new UK Aerospace Technology Institute — Stephen Henwood.

I visited Yeovil Branch again, for the Henson & Stringfellow Lecture given jointly by Bristow and AgustaWestland on the introduction of the new UK Search and Rescue Operation. I also met the Farnborough Branch for their Templer Branch Lecture given by Chris Clarkson of BAE Systems on unmanned vehicles and, in particular, Taranis. Both lectures demonstrated the breadth and depth of both our industry and the interest of our members.

Finally, congratulations to The Honourable Company of Air Pilots (formally GAPAN) on the award of their Royal Charter and subsequent change of name. It was a privilege to attend their Royal Charter Banquet at the Guildhall when the Royal Charter and Ceremonial Sword were presented by their Patron, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.

 Jenny Body