The life and work of British aircraft designer and manufacturer, Sir Richard Fairey, is marked annually at Heathrow with lectures given in his memory. Lectures take the future of aviation as their theme, often presenting advanced theories or developments, some still technically “on the drawing board”.
The relationship between Fairey and Heathrow began in 1929, when Charles Richard Fairey (1887-1956), needed a suitable field from which test and fly his products. His aeroplane production factory being only a few miles away at Hayes, Middlesex, the freehold site at rural Heath Row seemed the perfect solution. Fairey’s Great West Aerodrome was located on a 150 acre grass field and quickly became a popular flying centre. From 1935-39, the Fairey Aerodrome was the venue for the Royal Aeronautical Society’s summer garden parties.
But it was not to last. To Fairey’s fury, the land was requisitioned by the Air Ministry in 1944 under the guise of the war effort. The aerodrome and surrounding countryside made way for a new civil airfield, today’s London Heathrow Airport – one of the world’s busiest international airports and the national gateway for the country. Any remains of the old Great West Aerodrome lie buried somewhere beneath the old Runway 23, the cross wind runway.
Sir Richard Fairey was President of the Royal Aeronautical Society from 1930–34.
Previous Sir Richard Fairey Lectures
The first Richard Fairey Memorial Lecture was given on 5th March 1959 by Mr G W Hall, Chairman and Managing Director of the Fairey Aviation Company and covered the life and work of Sir Richard Fairey. The lecture and photographs were reproduced in the June 1959 issue of the RAeS Journal. The vote of thanks was proposed by Sir Frederick Handley Page, founder of the Handley Page Aircraft Company and friend and colleague of Dick Fairey.
In subsequent years, the branch has welcomed many other distinguished guest speakers to give the Richard Fairey Named Lecture, among them, Sir Austin Pearce – Chairman of British Aerospace, Brian H Rowe – Senior Vice President and Group Executive for General Electric, Sir Frank Whittle and Sir Freddie Laker.
List of speakers at the Sir Richard Fairey Lecture:
- 1959 – G W Hall, Chairman & Managing Director – Fairey Aviation Company
- 1960 – L Boddington, Director – R.N Aircraft Research
- 1961 – Uffa Fox on Sailing
- 1962 – Dr G Hislop, Fairey Division – Westland Aircraft Ltd.
- 1963 – Mr Hollis Williams, Fairey Division – Westland Aircraft Ltd.
- 1964 – Hugh Conway – Short & Harland, The Belfast
- 1965 – A Symon – Bristol Aeroplane Company
Topic on Concorde
- 1966 – Mr Beverley Shenstone, Technical Director – British Overseas Airways Corporation
- 1967 – Maynard Pennel – The Boeing Company
Topic on Boeing 2027 Supersonic Transport (SST) Project
- 1968 – Joe Sutter, Director of Engineering – The Boeing Company
Topic on Boeing 747
- 1969 – W M Magruder, Chief Engineer Development L1011 – Lockheed Corporation
- 1970 – Dr Ivor Lusty, West Coast Technical Consultant USA – BOAC
Topic on Boeing 747 Project
- 1971 – Mr Bertaille – Aerospatiale
Topic on A300 Project
- 1972 – Sir Peter Masefield – British Airport Authority (BAA)
- 1973 – Lloyd E Frisbee, Vice President Engineering – Lockheed Corporation
- 1974 – Charles Calliendi – De Havilland Aircraft Company Ltd.
- 1975 – S Foster, Planning Manager – British Airport Authority (BAA)
- 1976 – Dr Ken Wilkinson, Engineering Director – British Airways
- 1977 – Freddie Laker – Laker Airways
- 1978 – A Greenwood, Deputy Chairman – British Aerospace PLC
- 1979 – Captain J A Cameron, Managing Director – BA Helicopter Ltd.
- 1980 – Secor D Brown – Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Washington
- 1981 – Tom Brooke-Smith – Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators (GAPAN) & ex Short Brothers
- 1982 – Peter Morton, Senior Project Engineer – Boeing Commercial Airplane
Topic on CRT Displays on the B757 and B767
- 1983 – Brian H Rowe, Senior Vice President – General Eletric
- 1984 – Sir Austin Pearce, Chairman – British Aerospace
- 1985 – Roger Munk – Airship Industries
- 1986 – Sir Frank Whittle
Topic on Jet Engines
- 1987 – cancelled
- 1988 – Bob Davies, Chief Project Engineer B747-400 – Boeing Commercial Airplane
- 1989 – Richard D Murphy, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
- 1990 – Michael Baker, Astronaut – National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
- 1991 – Charles Masefield, Airline Division – British Aerospace PLC
- 1992 – Andy Richardson, FLS Lovaux Ltd.
Topic on Optica
- 1993 – Mike Williams – Rolls Royce
- 1994 – Alan Mulally, Vice President & General Manager B777 – The Boeing Company
- 1995 – M Udo Dräger – Super Airbus Transport International (SATIC)
Topic on Airbus A300-600ST Beluga
- 1996 – Rolf Rue, President – Airbus China
- 1997 – Christopher Boardman, Business Director “Al Yamamah” Project – British Aerospace PLC
- 1998 – Dr Steve Lingard, the Huygens Programmes – Martin-Baker Aircraft Company Ltd.
- 1999 – Chris Geoghegan – British Aerospace PLC
Topic on Airbus Into the Melting Pot
- 2000 – Robert Lange, Marketing Director of Large Aircraft Division – Airbus Industrie
Topic on The A3XX
- 2001 – Dr Edwin Mowforth, Senior Design Advisor – CargoLifter
Topic on Airship Technology – The CargoLifter Project
- 2002 – Andrew Collins – FHL
Topic on “We Have Control” – The Evolution of Prowered Flight Controls
- 2003 – Mike Kennett – Westland Helicopters
Topic on The Apache Programme
- 2004 – Paul Collins & Professor Ann Dowling
Topic on Silent Aircraft Initiative
- 2005 – Topic on Airbus A380 Update
- 2006 – Dr Stuart Eves – Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.
Topic on Sophisticated Small Stallites From Surrey
- 2007 – Adrian Price – National Air Traffic Services
Topic on Developing Tools for Safer Skies
- 2009 – Dr Adam Baker – Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.
Topic on UK Launch: Taking Small Satellites to Orbit on the Crest of Space Tourism Wave
- 2011 – Alan Bond, Director – Reaction Engines Ltd.
Topic on Can the UK be in the Vanguard of the New Space Age?
- 2012 – Capt Hugh Dibley [MCILT, FRIN, FRAeS]
Topic on Training to Avoid Loss of Control Accidents
- 2015 – Mark Thomas [CEng, FRAeS], Chief Engineer for Technology and Future Programmes
– Rolls-Royce Civil Large Engines Business
Topic on Rolls Royce – Future Developments in Engine Technology
- 2016 – Tom Grundy, Operations Director – Hybrid Air Vehicles
Topic on The Hybrid Air Vehicles – Airlander 10 Project
- 2017 – Olivier Frerotte, Airport Operations Technical Expert
Pierre Carpentier, Airport Operations Product Manager – Thales Avionics
Topic on Advances in Airport Technology