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About RAeS

The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) is the world's only professional body dedicated to the entire aerospace community. The society was established to further the art, science and engineering of aeronautics. The Society has been at the forefront of developments in aerospace ever since.

The Society was founded in 1866, it was originally known as The Aeronautical Society of Great Britain. The founding members were the Duke of Argyll, Mr James Glaisher, Dr Hugh W Diamond, Mr F.H. Wenham, Mr James William Butler and Mr F.W. Brearey. The society was created for the "advancement of aerial navigation and for observations in aerology connected therewith".

The first public meeting was held in the rooms of the Society of Arts building on June 27, 1866. This cemented a relationship between RAeS and the Society of Arts which would last for more than 70 years. At this meeting, a lecture was given by Wenham on ‘Aerial locomotion and the laws by which heavy bodies impelled through air are sustained’. His lecture is now one of the aeronautical classics and set the precedent for many to follow, up to the present day. 

The Society moved to No.4 Hamilton Place in 1938. In 1940, RAeS responded to the wartime need of expanding the aircraft industry. The Society established a department to collect to best available knowledge of the industry – 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.

The Society now has over 20,000 members and has become an international, multidisciplinary, professional institution that is dedicated to the global aerospace community.

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