The Royal Aeronautical Society is on a recruitment drive at the Dubai Airshow (Stand W144) looking to build on a membership base that already extends to a local branch here in the United Arab Emirates. The show also marks the swansong for the London-based organization’s chief executive, Keith Mans, who is about to retire and be replaced by former Messier-Dowty CEO Simon Luxmoore.
The UAE branch is one of the society’s most active and offers a full program of lectures and other events as part of its mandate to be a forum for advancing technology and best practice. It has some 60 branches worldwide including in Pakistan and South Africa and a global membership of more than 17,000.
Membership is available in both the professional and corporate partner categories. For corporate partners, the society offers a program of independent accreditation to recognize their qualifications and capabilities. Professional members can follow various personal development programs.
At Dubai ’09, the society is offering preferential membership rates. It is also holding daily prize drawings for the chance to win a complimentary affiliate membership.
Mans has attended the Dubai Airshow several times since he became Royal Aeronautical Society chief executive in 1998. He is about to become chairman of the UK’s Air League, taking over from Sir Brian Burridge, who is to be the group’s president.
“One of the society’s aims is to look beyond the next horizon to new challenges, supported by commercial organizations, while not having them as part of our membership structure,” Mans told AIN. “We have to challenge assumptions and use good objective analysis.”
One way in which the society has challenged established assumptions about aviation was the formation, in 1999, of the Air Travel Greener by Design initiative to confront the challenge posed to the industry by growing calls to reduce the industry’s environmental impact. “This is just as serious a challenge to aviation as those posed in the last century by the problems of payload and weight,” he said. The initiative has seen the society championing contentious ideas that are not necessarily in the interest of individual aerospace firms, such as the notion that to target environmental sustainability airlines should confine themselves to flying routes of no more than 3,000 miles.
The society’s 40 staff members work in conjunction with 2,500 volunteers organizing about 400 lectures annually for some 25,000 people. It also recently has started making the lectures available as audio files on its Web site. It has supported the opening of the National Aerospace Library at Farnborough and since 2003 has distributed almost $5 million in scholarships to aerospace students.