Aero Club Member Colin Whiteley shares his experience of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
I’ve been a Goodwood Aero Club member for six years and I enjoy flying when I get the chance, including a trip in the Harvard as a birthday treat! I also enjoy attending the Club’s many talks, presentations and events throughout the year.
I’m also a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), which is the world’s only professional body dedicated to the aerospace community, and dates back to 1866 when “aerial locomotion” was the pursuit of a small number of intrepid balloon and glider pioneers.
The RAeS doesn’t only serve aerospace professionals, with many of the events are of interest to all types of aircraft and aviation enthusiasts. Within this, there are specialist groups covering subjects including flight operations, avionics, space, flight testing, human factors, simulation, unmanned aircraft, and of course General Aviation. The RAeS has branches throughout the world and also curates the National Aerospace Library at Farnborough.
At the RAeS Solent branch, we hold lectures at the University of Southampton, Portsmouth University, HMS Sultan, and at CEMAST technical college at Lee-On-Solent. Our historically-themed lectures are hosted at the Solent Sky museum, and our annual R J Mitchell lecture is presented by a key industry figure from companies including Rolls-Royce, Virgin Galactic, Flybe, the European Space Agency, the Bloodhound Supersonic Car, and most recently the head of R&D for autonomous aircraft at Thales. As with the Goodwood Aero Club events, it’s fascinating to meet with past and present aviators and innovators.
My main role at the Solent Branch is for Continuous Professional Development, which allows recognition for career progression for established professionals, and demonstrates a commitment for students and young professionals entering the industry. For those with suitable qualifications and experience, the RAeS is licensed to register members as Chartered (CEng) and Incorporated (IEng) Engineers and Engineering Technicians (EngTech), which is a definite boost for the CV. This has helped me to progress my own career in the aviation industry, at companies including Thales, Meggitt Avionics and Airbus.
I’m also involved with the RAeS Cool Aeronautics programme, which is the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) outreach for young people. This is aimed at 10-11-year-olds and engages them with activities such as building a glider, launching a rocket, flying a simulator, or getting hands-on with a real aeroplane. My colleagues at RAeS HQ are arranging some school visits this year, and I look forward to working with Mark and Kristin, as Goodwood is the perfect location to inspire the next generation of aeronauts!
Goodwood Aero Club
If flying is your passion, the Goodwood Aero Club is packed with people who feel the same way.