'It is my great pleasure to wish the Royal Aeronautical Society a very happy 150th Anniversary.

From its humble beginnings in 1866, the original 65 Society members who first met in the United Kingdom 150 years ago have swelled to over 20,000 experts and enthusiasts worldwide. The Society’s commitment to drive innovation and growth in the field of aeronautics has reaped benefits for people across the globe.

In the 1900s, Australian aviators played a major role in pioneering long distance flights, often in hazardous conditions. Sydney airport is proudly named after our most celebrated aviator, Charles Kingsford Smith, who not only broke many records, but inspired new generations of aviators to strive for greatness. Nancy Bird-Walton was inspired to fly at a young age and went on to fly essential medical supplies to the far reaches of country Australia, not only saving lives but sharing her love of flying far and wide.

It was only a little over 100 years ago when Australians first saw an aeroplane successfully circle a field in country Victoria. Today, close to 100,000 flights take off around the world every day to take people on holidays, to work, to family reunions, to new homes and on exciting adventures. Members of the Society have driven improvements and advancements, not only in passenger travel, but also in fields as varied as national defence, rotorcraft, space exploration and human powered flight. Considering the great progress in aeronautics to date, one can only imagine what we will consider a normal part of life in another 150 years.

I commend the Royal Aeronautical Society on its local and global efforts to engage members, recognise excellence and provide learning opportunities. Most notably, I salute the commitment to bringing the passion for aviation and aeronautics to new generations of pilots, engineers, scientists, researchers, designers and explorers.

On behalf of the People and Government of NSW, please accept our congratulations for 150 years of independent exploration of aeronautics and we wish you many more years to come.'

MIKE BAIRD MP Premier NSW



24 June 2016