The RAeS Heathrow Branch hosts monthly lectures at the British Airways Waterside as well as ac-hod visits to local aeronautical organisations. These are both excellent opportunities for members of all professional levels (from students, early career professionals, mid-career professionals to retirees) to interact and engage with each other. Such opportunities often lead to a further development of professional contacts, business opportunities and even friendships among members.
Annual Dinners were regarded as the social event of the Branch calendar and were held consecutively for 30 years between 1957 and 1987. The first was at LAP’s Central Terminal Restaurant on 21 March 1957, cost 14 shillings (70p) and included a lecture by Mr J Dyment of Trans Canada Airlines. A similar combined dinner and lecture was held the following year.
The 1959 dinner moved to the Feltham Hotel, Middlesex, (on 5 March) and included the first Sir Richard Fairey Memorial Lecture. Fairey lecture and Annual Dinners remained together until 1963, when they were held separately. The dinner continued to be held at the Feltham Hotel from 1963 until 1970 with film shows replacing lectures. The exception was the 1965 dinner when the guest of honour was aviation pioneer Sir Alan Cobham – and the price of tickets rose to 18 shillings and six pence (92p).
From 1971 until 1982, Branch Annual Dinners moved to BOAC Chairman’s Dinning Room, Speedbird House, Heathrow. The RAF Officers Mess, West Drayton, Middlesex, was the venue in 1983 and 1984, the RAF Officers Mess, Uxbridge, Middlesex, in 1985 and the Excelsior Hotel, Heathrow in 1986. The last dinner in 1987 was held at the Tower Arms Hotel, Iver, Bucks.
From 1971, the Annual Dinners were formal occasions with honoured guests including the Presidents of the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Society of Licensed Aircraft Engineers and Technologists. At the 1985 dinner at the RAF Officers’ Mess, Uxbridge, Linda Jones was made a Companion of the Society by the then RAeS President, Tom Kerr, in recognition of her becoming the first woman to take the Chair of a Branch and for her contribution to the RAeS generally.