January 12th, 1866 – The Aeronautical Society of Great Britain

raesThe Royal Aeronautical Society, also known as the RAeS, is a British-founded multidisciplinary professional institution dedicated to the global aerospace community. It was founded in January, 12th, 1866 with the name The Aeronautical Society of Great Britain. Early or founding members included James Glaisher, Francis Wenham, 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 with 78 entries. John Stringfellow‘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.

Old PlaneIn 1940, the RAeS responded to the wartime need to expand the aircraft 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) and eventually became a separate entity in the 1980s.

In 1987 the Society of Licensed Aircraft Engineers and Technologists, previously called the Society of Licensed Aircraft Engineers, was incorporated into the Royal Aeronautical Society.


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