The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) is the world’s only professional body dedicated to the entire aerospace community. It was established as a learned society in 1866, thirty-seven years before the first manned flight, to further the advancement of aeronautical art, science and engineering around the world. The Society gained Royal patronage in 1918 and a Royal Charter in 1949. Today, the Society promotes the highest professional standards in all aerospace disciplines; provides specialist information; acts as a central forum for the exchange of ideas; and plays a leading role in influencing opinion on aerospace matters.
The Royal Aeronautical Society’s Heathrow Branch is one of the largest and most prestigious of the Society’s UK Branches – your local London Branch. Understandably, it is strongly influenced by London Heathrow Airport, one of the world’s busiest international airports. Such is the regard for Heathrow, both as a centre of excellence and as one of the world’s major civil aviation gateways, it is not surprising that a branch of the Society has become firmly established.
The Branch was formed in 1956, following a circular letter sent by Norman Brown of the BOAC’s Design Office and discussions between Sir Bob Lickley, Technical Director of Fairey Aviation and Beverley Shenstone, Chief Engineer of BEA. Committee Members and support was also given by the local Air Traffic Control, Graviner, Sir George Godfrey and Martin Baker. Geoff Hall, MD Fairey Aviation was the first President. In 1968 Graviner presented the Branch with a Graviner-Wikinson Ceremonial Sword. Hand-crafted, the names of the branch presidents are engraved on the blade, with those of past chairmen on brass plaques on the sword’s plinth. The design on the sword’s hilt depicts the original 1946 layout of Heathrow’s runways – all SIX of them!
In 1969 the Branch agreed to actively co-operate with the thriving London Airport Branch of the Society of Licensed Aircraft Engineers, formed in 1950, (later SLAET) and in 1972 created a joint Branch with a combined Committee (anticipating by 15 years the merging of the two Societies).
The objectives of the Branch is to further the objects and purposes of the Society, to provide a local nucleus of informed opinion on relevant technical matters, and inter-alia:
- To promote and encourage the acquisition of knowledge in all matters pertaining to the profession of aeronautics and aerospace to establish friendly intercourse among members.
- To promote the Society’s Charter objectives.
- To arrange meetings, lectures, community outreach, and networking events
- To arrange visits to places of aeronautical, aerospace and general engineering interest.
- To promote membership of the Society generally and, in particular, in its local area.
There are currently around 400 members representing a wide range of professions. The Branch membership represents a diverse range of backgrounds and companies associated with the airport and its far reaching business. With the re-emergence of apprentices and Graduate entries, efforts are being made to invite and attract them to our wide-ranging lectures, networking and young member events.
Willie Walsh [FRAeS] is currently the Branch President following Lord (Colin) Marshall, Lord King and Ken Wilkinson (Engineering Director BA and RAeS President).
Graeme Catnach [FRAeS, CEng] is currently the Branch Chairman.
Latest version (Issue 8.0) of the RAeS heathrow Branch Rules.