Founded in 1929, the Bristol Branch is one of the oldest and liveliest Branches in RAeS and serves as the local focus for RAeS activities in the south-west of England.
The city of Bristol harbours one of the largest and most significant aerospace communities in the world. Local industry and research establishments are at the forefront of innovation and advancement in the field of aerospace engineering. Top aerospace companies in the UK have headquarters or major facilities in the Bristol area, including their Research and Development, Design, Manufacturing and Procurement Departments.
The Bristol Branch has a registered population of over 1,800 people from a range of diverse local aerospace companies and Universities in the south-west, which enhances the popularity of the Royal Aeronautical Society within the Aerospace community in Bristol and the surrounding areas and makes the Bristol Branch one of the most significant contributors to RAeS activity.
Each year, as part of our branch activities, we have a busy schedule including monthly lectures, visits to UK museums and even international trips to other branches and sites (this year we hosted the Hamburg Branch and held a trip to The Netherlands, with a promised return visit to Hamburg in 2013). Furthermore, this year we hosted a series of workshops to support those in the process of submitting applications for professional registration and to support the nationwide push to increasing awareness of engineering standards among professional engineers. We also contributed strongly to the RAeS Young Members’ roadshows around the country and continued to develop our website (www.raesbristol.org.uk), through which we aim to better serve our growing audience.
Also in the frame of professional development, this November, the Branch is proud to welcome the prestigious WAAC 2012 one-day conference for Women in Aviation and Aerospace hosted by Rolls-Royce in Filton, Bristol, which will be its first appearance outside of London.
Since the 25th anniversary of the Branch, every year in May/June time, we hold our Branch showcase event, the Barnwell Lecture, inaugurated to honour the memory of aviation engineer Captain Frank Sowter Barnwell, OBE, AFC, FRAeS. The Barnwell brothers, Harold (1878-1917) and Frank (1880-1938) achieved the first powered flight in Scotland on 28 July 1909. In 1911 Frank Barnwell moved to Bristol to join the British and Colonial Aircraft Company as a designer. He went on to become chief designer and had a key part in designing 150 different models for Bristol between 1915 and 1938 including the Bristol F.2 Fighter and then later the Bristol Blenheim.
The 2012 Barnwell Lecture was held on 20 June and gave a fascinating insight into the world of RAF helicopter operations, presented by Air Commodore Sibley, Director, Helicopter Operations for the Royal Air Force.
All of these achievements are owed to the continued voluntary efforts of the Bristol Branch Committee members that ultimately contribute towards the charitable activities of the Royal Aeronautical Society.