We have had two meetings now with the Aerospace Growth Partnership and I feel very optimistic that the Society will become increasingly involved in providing technical specialists, in supporting the skills agenda and in facilitating engagement and dissemination.
I had two very interesting days in Toulouse in January. I visited Supaero — the French National Higher School of Aeronautics and Space — and saw some of their ground-breaking work on pilot behaviour and response on the flight deck. I hope we may hear more about this research in the UK soon.
The Toulouse Branch hosted an excellent lecture from Gordon McConnell (Chief Engineer — A350 XWB) and Peter Chandler (Flight Test Pilot) about the progress of the A350 XWB development and flight testing. Over 350 (!) people attended the lecture. Colleagues from Airbus Group later mentioned that the Branch lectures are a very important activity for the Society to manage, as they enable a much wider dissemination of information than industry can do alone. I was delighted to meet with colleagues from Airbus Group (including Tom Enders) the next day and appreciated the respect with which the Society is held. My last stop was the Final Assembly Line of A350 XWB. I see from the ‘twittersphere’ that A350 XWB has completed successfully its cold weather testing in Canada. I have recently been sorting out paperwork from my parents and I was amused by the photographs I found of my father in cold weather kit when he supported cold weather trials of the Bristol Britannia in Winnipeg nearly 55 years ago. As I have said before, aerospace and aviation are family concerns but this also reminded me as well of just how much testing we do to ensure our products are safe.
I was very pleased to attend the ADS Annual Dinner last week. The renaissance of UK Aerospace including substantial investment from Government and Industry together with the skills challenges were mentioned by all the speakers including the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, Vince Cable with energy supply being a key facet of the speech of guest speaker, Andrew Neil. The Society seems to be exactly ‘on-message’ in being involved in all of these issues.
I will soon be in Singapore — I am speaking at the Singapore Aerospace Technology and Engineering Conference (SATEC) 2014, visiting the airshow and Rolls-Royce technical facilities and I look forward to meeting both Corporate and Individual members.