The Institute of Aeronautics at the University of Balamand has been active in its Corporate Partnership of the Royal Aeronautical Society since 2013. Many of its faculty and staff members as well as some of its students are already members of the society at different grades.

At the beginning of the fall semester of 2016, a group of senior aeronautical engineering students, who identified with RAeS, heritage, vision and values, decided that the RAeS should maintain a visible presence within the University, particularly among the students. They set out to establish a club that can represent the noble Society and gathers students who are passionate about aeronautics under its umbrella to run student-based aviation related activities. The students, along with the chairperson started working together to kick start of the UOB-RAeS Student Branch Club. The Club advisor was found in the person of their professor, Dr. Nay Mezannar MRAeS.

Since November 2016, the Club participated in many University events and held some of its own. Our first participation occurred on Monday 21 November as it was the day before the Independence Day of Lebanon. In this event, each club at our University had to celebrate Independence in their own way. We celebrated our launching coincidently with the Independence Day and the celebrations included giving away decorated chocolate and key chains on which our logo and slogan were engraved. In addition, we arranged a wheel game in which questions about aviation, aviation history in general, or Lebanese history were asked, and right answers were awarded with gifts from some sponsors.

Our second event was held on Thursday 1 December, within the Faculty of Engineering Seminars Series. We invited Colonel George Nader, the Deputy Director of the Training Center for the Reinforcement of Airport Security, as a guest speaker to talk to us about “Aviation Security Awareness”. During the seminar, a series of security hazards were elaborated, including the different types of risks, concerns or threats that airports may be subjected to. Many of today’s protection and detection systems were presented, in addition to ways for their effective implementation. This surely shined light on an important issue that most students were either unaware of or took for granted. Colonel Nader also familiarized the students with the different airport security fields and emphasized their importance and the need for new graduates who understood Aviation Security and were ready to contribute to it.

We also visited Beirut Wings, a flight training organization at Beirut Airport GA Terminal where we had a look at their training aircraft and private jets. Our visit coincided with the presence of Mr. Walter Da Costa, the Global Sales & Marketing Director of TECNAM, the Italian aircraft manufacturer. Mr. Da Costa invited us to visit their facility in Italy and fly his aircraft. We will be taking you on your offer sometime soon Walter!

Before the end of the fall semester, we organized a small fundraising event in which we sold notebooks. Christmas and Aviation related sketches were hand drawn and painted by some members on the notebooks and New Year diaries. Those proved very popular with everyone and we sold out!!

In the beginning of the spring semester, we held the “Lebanese Aviation History Lecture”. The lecturer, Dr. Oussama Jadayel FRAeS, highlighted the most important and crucial dates in the Lebanese Aviation between 1913 and 1944.

The RAeS-UOB Student Branch Club took part jointly with other specialized Professional Engineering Societies in the Engineering Week that was organized by the Faculty of Engineering in February. The Club’s presence was really visible as members contributed to many of week’s activities, games, quizzes and lectures.

In April, the BIA and the UOB-RAeS Student Branch organized a training visit to a JorAMCo, the leading MRO in Amman, Jordan. Ten student members and two staff members spent a week at the various departments of maintenance facility, interacting with staff learning how aircraft maintenance tasks are performed, managed in a high quality professional. It was not all work, but the team had a lot of fun exploring some of Jordan’s touristic sites!

The Club also took part in the activities of the UOB Spring Festival which was attended by an estimated ten thousand guests. At the Club stand, members spent time demonstrating aerodynamic phenomena to kids using various aerodynamic bodies.

The contributions of the RAeS-UOB Student Branch did not go unnoticed. During the recent Balamand Awards Ceremony organized by the Office of Student Affairs, we earned the Rising Club award for what we have done so far. And we have the pictures to prove it! 

We are very excited about our new Club and we have many events planned and still to come. These include our Gala Dinner, a visit to the Rayak Lebanese Air Force Base where the Lebanese Hawker Hunters are, as well as many other things. We’ll keep the RAeS updated about our activities and we’d love to connect with students from Universities in the U.K. who share our passion.

Maysa’a Rizk & Sara Hawi, UOB-RAeS Student Branch Club
15th May 2017