There is no doubt that the RAeS 150th Anniversary Celebrations in 2016 have been an outstanding success on many fronts, not just globally, but extra-terrestrially with the first day anniversary stamp covers signed by Tim Peake HonFRAeS on board the International Space Station (ISS) on 12 January 2016, the day of the 150th anniversary, as well as the first extra-terrestrial RAeS conference presentation by Tim from the ISS to the Spaceport UK Conference at No.4 Hamilton Place.

Stimulating aerospace innovation

The aim of stimulating aerospace innovation was taken up for many events, ranging from young people presenting the innovative work they are involved in, the Go For Gold Competition which showcased the wealth of ideas that might be developed in the future, through to the Innovation Conference and President’s Conference on Future Technology.

Inspiring young people

A key objective was to inspire young people and this was a major success, with events by, and for, young people including the Cool Aeronautics programme supported by Airbus for primary school children that reached over 2000 pupils in 28 locations worldwide. A wind tunnel assembled by early career professionals and secondary school pupils featured at Shuttleworth, RIAT and Farnborough flying displays and has since been operating in schools across the Bedford area demonstrating the value of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). In Scotland, ‘PrestAero’ was launched to provide an online resource that assists teachers in South Ayrshire by providing aeronautically themed materials for use in teaching STEM subjects. The Young Persons Conference encouraged young professionals to ‘Step Up To Management’, and the growth of the Young Persons Network has demonstrated the value the Society can offer to those developing their careers.

Pupils learning at Cool Aeronautics events sponsored by Airbus

Celebrating the history of aerospace and aviation

Celebrating the contribution aerospace makes to our lives today was another underlying theme, delivered in a series of articles in AEROSPACE magazine, and well conveyed by presentations to the Branches on the History of the Society, mostly by Past President Bill Tyack FRAeS. You can watch a video of this presentation on our YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/AeroSociety.

Raising the profile of the RAeS

Our regional Branches took on the challenge of raising the profile of the Society by inviting more local people and organisations to participate in our anniversary activities with significant increases in normal attendances. It is hoped that this enthusiasm will continue to bring in new members to the Society. High profile events which attracted much senior attention included a Garden Party held at the British Embassy in Washington DC, with Sesquicentennial Receptions and Dinners in Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan.

Washington DC Branch celebrations

Leaving a legacy

The final aim of leaving a legacy that will be valued afterwards is more difficult to establish at this point in time, however, the fact that so many young people have been exposed to the tremendous exciting and innovation challenges in aerospace and aviation has provided an important boost to the work already being done by the Education and Skills team at HQ. The 150th Anniversary Publication ‘Delivering the Dream', the schools publication ‘Reach for the Sky’ and the special 150th anniversary edition of The Aeronautical Journal will continue to convey the legacy for some time to come.

Buy your copy of Delivering the Dream commemorative book

We would like to particularly thank our members, Corporate Partners and supporters across our Regional network who have supported activities throughout the anniversary. In particular, we would also like to thank our sponsors: Airbus, AlixPartners, BAE Systems, Boeing, GKN Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Qatar Airways, QinetiQ, Raytheon, Rolls-Royce, Thales, University of Southampton, UTC Aerospace Systems, Volga Dnepr. It has been an exciting year during which I believe we have achieved our goals to celebrate the formation of the Society with a theme of innovative firsts in aerospace and inspire the next generation towards even greater innovations in science, engineering and technology.

Lee Balthazor FRAeS

Chair, 2016 Working Group


2nd January 2017