Our President

The President of the Society provides leadership of the Council and of the Society in pursuit of its Objectives. The President holds a pivotal role at the Society upholding the values, and reputation of the Society as well as the interests of the members. The President is an Ambassador of the Society representing us at key engagements, influencing the global standing of the Society in furthering the advancement of aeronautical art, science and engineering.

Sir Stephen Dalton FRAeS.jpg

Sir Stephen Dalton FRAeS, President 2017-18


Prof Chris Atkin CEng FRAeS, President 2016-2017


I am very grateful to all who helped, hosted and educated me as I have visited our Branches - it has been rejuventaing, exciting and inspiring to meet such fantastic professionals on every occasion -thank you."

Sir Stephen Dalton FRAeS

President's Message: May 2018

The civil airline market place continues to be one of the most buoyant and optimistic international business steams. With new airlines being launched on an almost weekly basis. The new Austrian venture by Niki Lauda and Michael O’Leary is a case in point. The continuing growth in the sector will demand greater international cooperation on airport slots, on routes and on the need for pilots. It will also put more pressure on airport turn-round efficiency and the air traffic procedures and plans for managing the increased flow. I have been privileged in the last year to see, hear and better understand some of the exciting, but demanding, future prospects for the world of air transport, a means of reaching every part of the globe, which has been in existence for less than a century.

Our Royal Aeronautical Society has, of course, been around for over 150 years and was
established by visionary people who just knew that aircraft et al were going to fly and that this would provide a quantum leap in how we would travel. They could not have known that within a century we would have ‘aircraft’ that would fly many times the speed of sound; would reach every part of the globe; would enable man to walk on the Moon; and that would make going from London to Tokyo an ‘everyday event for the man in the street’. With the prospect of passenger space (or low earth orbit) flying just around the corner, the Royal Aeronautical Society is set, uniquely, to provide the forum through which knowledge, ‘aeronautical’ and regulatory requirements are identified, shared and debated and which focuses global thinking on the need for effective and coherent methodology by which the
continuing growth in space and air travel can be advanced, regulated and managed for everybody.

Alongside these practical advances in the sector, we need to ensure that we inspire, train and develop the best aerodynamacists, technicians and engineers, pilots and air traffickers and continue to build the Royal Aeronautical Society to guide and promote the careers and personal development of the best minds that we can attract. The Society is in good shape to meet this challenge and guided by an excellent Chief Executive and staff team, the professionals who volunteer to serve on your Council, are helping to deliver a professional body of expertise ready, willing and able to play a critical part in the future development and implementation of the aerospace sector. It has been an enormous pleasure to represent this great Society over the past year and I am very grateful to all who helped, hosted and educated me as I have visited our Branches – it has been rejuvenating, exciting and
inspiring to meet such fantastic professionals on every occasion – Thank you!

The President's Biography

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton joined the Royal Air Force in 1976 after graduating with an honours degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Bath University. His early career was spent as a frontline pilot on the Jaguar and Tornado aircraft. He commanded No 13 Squadron and subsequently, he commanded Royal Air Force Coltishall and the RAF’s Jaguar Force. Promoted to Air Commodore, he was appointed as Director of the Eurofighter (Typhoon) Programme Assurance Group in the Ministry of Defence with responsibility for ensuring that all elements of this key international defence programme resulted in a cost-effective and safe introduction to service of Typhoon. On promotion to Air Vice-Marshal, he took over the post of Capability Manager for Information Superiority, with defence-wide responsibility for the assessment, budgetary management and delivery of Defence’s intelligence and communications capability. In April 2004, he was appointed Controller Aircraft, a post which carried with it a place on the Air Force Board, which he carried with him into his next position when, in May 2006, he took up the appointment of Director General Typhoon in the Ministry of Defence; this period was dominated by the major review of the 4 partner-nation government and industry MOUs and contracts. In May 2007, Air Chief Marshal Dalton was appointed as the strategic personnel (HR) and training director for the Royal Air Force and he was promoted Air Chief Marshal in April 2009 and became Chief of the Air Staff in July 2009. He was awarded The Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air in 1985, appointed a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB) in 2005, promoted to Knight Commander (KCB) in 2009 and advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order (GCB) in 2012. He stood down as Chief of the Air Staff in July 2013. Much of his career has involved the leadership of major change programmes in high profile positions and across major multi-departmental projects within government working on high-level international programmes with professional bodies, major industry partners and overseas organisations and governments.