Royal Aeronautical Society
The Royal Aeronautical Society, also known as the RAeS, is a multidisciplinary professional institution dedicated to the global aerospace
Aerospace comprises the atmosphere of Earth and surrounding space. Typically the term is used to refer to the industry that researches, designs, manufactures, operates, and maintains vehicles moving through air and space...



The objectives of The Royal Aeronautical Society include: to support and maintain high professional standards in aerospace disciplines; to provide a unique source of specialist information and a local forum for the exchange of ideas; and to exert influence in the interests of aerospace in the public and industrial arenas.

Throughout the world's aerospace community the name of The Royal Aeronautical Society is widely known and respected. Many practitioners of aerospace disciplines use the Society's designatory post-nominals
Post-nominal letters
Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles or designatory letters, are letters placed after the name of a person to indicate that the individual holds a position, educational degree, accreditation, office, or honour. An individual may use several different sets of...

 such as FRAeS, CRAeS, MRAeS, AMRAeS, and ARAeS (incorporating the former graduate grade, GradRAeS).

The staff of the Royal Aeronautical Society are based at the Society's headquarters at No.4 Hamilton Place, London, W1J 7BQ. Although centred in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, the Royal Aeronautical Society is a worldwide society with an international network of 63 branches. The headquarters is on the north-east edge of Hyde Park Corner
Hyde Park Corner
Hyde Park Corner is a place in London, at the south-east corner of Hyde Park. It is a major intersection where Park Lane, Knightsbridge, Piccadilly, Grosvenor Place and Constitution Hill converge...

, with the nearest access being Hyde Park Corner tube station
Hyde Park Corner tube station
Hyde Park Corner is a London Underground station near Hyde Park Corner in Hyde Park. It is in Travelcard Zone 1, between Knightsbridge and Green Park on the Piccadilly Line.-History:...



  • The Journal of the Royal Aeronautical Society: (1923–1967)
  • Aerospace International: (1997- )
  • The Aerospace Professional
  • The Aeronautical Journal: (1897-1923)

Branches and divisions

Branches are the regional embodiment of the Society. They deliver membership benefits and provide a global platform for the dissemination of aerospace information. As of January 2011, the Branches are in: Adelaide; Auckland; Bedford; Belfast; Birmingham; Boscombe Down; Brisbane; Bristol; Brough; Brussels; Cambridge; Canberra; Cardiff; Chester; Christchurch; Christchurch, NZ; Coventry; Cranfield; Cranwell; Cyprus; Derby; Dublin; FAA Yeovilton; Farnborough; Gatwick; Gloucester and Cheltenham; Hamburg; Hamilton; Hatfield; Heathrow; Highland; Hong Kong; Isle of Man; Isle of Wight; Loughborough; Malaysia; Manchester; Marham; Medway; Melbourne; Montreal; Munich; Oxford; Palmerston North; Paris; Perth; Preston; Prestwick; Riyadh; Seattle; Singapore; Solent; Southend; Stevenage; Swindon; Sydney; Toulouse; UAE; Washington DC; Wellington; Weybridge; Xiamen; and Yeovil.

Divisions of the Society have been formed in countries and regions that can sustain a number of Branches. Divisions operate with a large degree of autonomy, being responsible for their own branch network, membership recruitment, subscription levels, conference and lecture programmes.

Specialist Groups covering all facets of the aerospace industry exist under the overall umbrella of the Society, with the aim of serving the interests of both enthusiasts and industry professionals.

The Groups' remit is to consider significant developments in their field, and they attempt to achieve this through their conferences and lectures, with the intention of stimulating debate and facilitating action on key industry issues in order to reflect and respond to the constant innovation and progress in aviation. The Groups also act as focal points for all enquiries to the Society concerning their specialist subject matter, forming a crucial interface between the Society and the world in general.

As of May 2009, the Specialist Group committees are as follows: Aerodynamics; Aerospace Medicine; Air Law; Air Power; Air Transport; Airworthiness & Maintenance; Avionics & Systems; Environment; Flight Operations; Flight Simulation; Flight Test; General Aviation; Historical; Human Factors; Human Powered; Licensed Engineers; Management Studies; Propulsion; Rotorcraft; Space; Structures & Materials; UAV; Weapons Systems & Technologies

In 2009, the Royal Aeronautical Society formed a group of experts to document how to better simulate aircraft upset conditions, and thus improve training programs.


The Society was founded in January, 1866 with the name The Aeronautical Society of Great Britain.

Early or founding members included James Glaisher
James Glaisher
James Glaisher FRS , was an English meteorologist and aeronaut.Born in Rotherhithe, the son of a London watchmaker, Glaisher was a Junior assistant at the Cambridge Observatory from 1833 to 1835 before moving to the Royal Greenwich Observatories, where he served as Superintendent of the Department...

, Francis Wenham
Francis Herbert Wenham
Francis Herbert Wenham was a British marine engineer who studied the problem of manned flight and wrote a perceptive and influential academic paper which he presented to the first meeting of the Royal Aeronautical Society in London in 1866.Wenham's report, "Aerial Locomotion," was published in the...

, the duke of Argyll, and Frederick Brearey. In the first year, there were 65 members; at the end of the second year, 91 members, and in the third year, 106 members.
Annual reports were produced in the first decades. In 1868 the Society held a major exhibition at London's Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and glass building originally erected in Hyde Park, London, England, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. More than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world gathered in the Palace's of exhibition space to display examples of the latest technology developed in...

 with 78 entries. John Stringfellow
John Stringfellow
John Stringfellow was born in Sheffield, England and is known for his work on the Aerial Steam Carriage with William Samuel Henson....

's steam engine was shown there.
The Society sponsored the first wind tunnel in 1870-71, designed by Wenham and Browning.

In 1918, the organization's name was changed to the Royal Aeronautical Society. In 1923 its principal journal was renamed from The Aeronautical Journal to The Journal of the Royal Aeronautical Society and in 1927 the Institution of Aeronautical Engineers Journal was merged into it.

In 1940, the RAeS responded to the wartime need to expand the aircraft
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

 industry. The Society established a Technical Department to bring together the best available knowledge and present it in an authoritative and accessible form – a working tool for engineers who might come from other industries and lack the specialised knowledge required for aircraft design. This technical department became known as the Engineering Sciences Data Unit
ESDU is an engineering advisory organisation based in the United Kingdom.- Profile :...

 (ESDU) and eventually became a separate entity in the 1980s.

In 1987 the Society of Licensed Aircraft Engineers and Technologists
Society of Licensed Aircraft Engineers and Technologists
The Society of Licensed Aircraft Engineers and Technologists , originally founded as the Society of Licensed Aircraft Engineers , was incorporated into the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1987.-See also:...

, previously called the Society of Licensed Aircraft Engineers, was incorporated into the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Keith Mans
Keith Mans
Keith Douglas Rowland Mans , British Conservative Party politician.Mans was Member of Parliament for Wyre from the 1987 general election until the seat was abolished by boundary changes for the 1997 general election...

 was Chief Executive from 1998-2009.


The Society awards a number of medals and prizes. These include its Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. Others awarded have included R. P. Alston Memorial Prize for developments in flight-testing, Edward Busk prize for applied aerodynamics, an Orville Wright Prize. Honorary Fellowships are awarded as well.

The Sir Robert Hardingham Sword The Sir Robert Hardingham Sword is awarded in recognition of outstanding service to the RAeS by a member of the Society. Nominally an annual award, in practice the award is only made about one year in two.

Notable Gold Medal recipients

  • 1909 - Wilbur and Orville Wright
    Wright brothers
    The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur , were two Americans credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903...

  • 1910 - Octave Chanute
    Octave Chanute
    Octave Chanute was a French-born American railway engineer and aviation pioneer. He provided the Wright brothers with help and advice, and helped to publicize their flying experiments. At his death he was hailed as the father of aviation and the heavier-than-air flying machine...

  • 1945 - Air Cdre Frank Whittle
    Frank Whittle
    Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle, OM, KBE, CB, FRS, Hon FRAeS was a British Royal Air Force engineer officer. He is credited with independently inventing the turbojet engine Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle, OM, KBE, CB, FRS, Hon FRAeS (1 June 1907 – 9 August 1996) was a British Royal Air...

  • 1950 - Sir Geoffrey de Havilland
    Geoffrey de Havilland
    Captain Sir Geoffrey de Havilland, OM, CBE, AFC, RDI, FRAeS, was a British aviation pioneer and aircraft engineer...

  • 1955 - Ernest Hives, 1st Baron Hives - "for his outstanding work in the field of aircraft propulsion.".
  • 1958 - Sydney Camm
  • 1959 - Marcel Dassault
    Marcel Dassault
    Marcel Dassault, born Marcel Bloch was a French aircraft industrialist.-Biography:Dassault was born in Paris. After graduating from the lycée Condorcet, Breguet School and Supaero, he invented a type of aircraft propeller used by the French army during World War I and founded the Société des...

  • 1960 - Sir Frederick Handley Page
    Frederick Handley Page
    Sir Frederick Handley Page, CBE, FRAeS was an English industrialist who was a pioneer in the design and manufacture of aircraft. His company Handley Page Limited produced a series of military aircraft, including the Halifax bomber in World War II, of which around 7,000 were produced...

  • 1967 - Stanley Hooker
    Stanley Hooker
    Sir Stanley George Hooker was a jet engine engineer, first at Rolls-Royce where he worked on the earliest designs such as the Welland and Derwent, and later at Bristol Aero Engines where he helped bring the troubled Proteus and Olympus to market, and then designed the famous Pegasus.Stanley George...

  • 2009 - Henry McDonald
    Henry McDonald (engineer)
    Dr. Henry "Harry" McDonald is the Distinguished Professor and Chair of Computational Engineering at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. He holds a BSc. and a DSc. from the University of Glasgow.-Career:...

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