The 105th Wilbur and Orville Wright Lecture concluded a busy year of 150th anniversary celebrations for the Royal Aeronautical Society. Fittingly, the evening opened with a video message from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Honorary President of the Royal Aeronautical Society for 2016. In this message His Royal Highness wishes the Society, its members and supporters every possible success in the future. He also comments that aeronautics has played a significant role in changing our world and that the Society has been at the heart of this story since its formation in 1866, advancing the science of aviation at every exciting step of it development. Watch the video message at

Following the congratulatory message from His Royal Highness, the new Chief of the Air Staff, ACM Sir Stephen Hillier FRAeS, took to the stage to deliver the 105th Wilbur & Orville Wright Lecture. Sir Stephen spoke compellingly about the risks and opportunities which he faces in growing the front-line capability of the RAF as a result of the SDSR in 2015, whilst managing operations which are busier than ever around the world. He called for cooperation in working together, without fear or favour, to grow the RAF as effectively as we can in order to ensure our collective security and defence going forward. If you missed this lecture, you can read the full transcript.


Prior to the Lecture, a presentation of RAeS Honours was made to a distinguished list of individuals in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the aerospace profession. As the most prestigious and long-standing awards in global aerospace, the RAeS Honours, Medals and Awards honour achievements and recognise the innovation and excellence of both individuals and teams in all disciplines of the global aerospace industry.

Following the Lecture and Awards the Society hosted a black tie dinner in the elegant Argyll Room where guests from all sectors of the aerospace community toasted the evening’s lecturer, ACM Sir Stephen Hillier FRAeS, and the memory of Wilbur & Orville Wright – three gentlemen at the heart of aviation and its rapid advancement.

This event was supported by Boeing UK, who celebrated their centenary in 2016 alongside the Society’s 150th Anniversary.

Gail Ward
12 December 2016