About us

About us

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.

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Since the 25th anniversary of the Branch, every year 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.

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.

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