Royal Aeronautical Society 150th Anniversary Plaque

The Boscombe Down branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society unveiled a plaque in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Royal Aeronautical Society on Wednesday 15th June 2016; the 80th anniversary of the first flight of the Westland P8 Lysander.

The plaque records the 36 aircraft which made their maiden flights from Boscombe Down, and includes many well-known aircraft types such as the Hawker Hunter, the English Electric Lightning and the BAC TSR-2, and the more unusual – such as the Wallis Autogyro. The plaque was unveiled by Ian Penrose, son of legendary test pilot Harald Penrose, who flew three of the aircraft named on the plaque between 1936 and 1946. After the unveiling, a reception also took place, with QinetiQ kindly providing lunch for the guests, and the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection providing a display of models of the aircraft listed on the plaque. Boscombe Down Historic Archivist Norman Parker also provided displays of historic photographs and articles about Boscombe Down through the years.

The unveiling event was attended by senior military figures, including Chief Test Pilot Gp Capt Tom Lyons, ATEC Chief of Staff Gp Capt Chris Daykin and TEST PT Team Leader Gp Capt Andy Tait. Also in attendance were senior members of the QinetiQ leadership team, including Alison Kennett, Head of Service Delivery for QinetiQ’s Air business, and Paul Cheetham, Head of Engineering Governance, along with Scott Phillips from the Royal Aeronautical Society.

The plaque unveiling is part of a series of events and activities planned by the branch to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 2016. The plaque is intended to honour the past; marking the history of Boscombe Down and its contribution to the aerospace industry over the years. Alongside this, the Branch will be hosting a special guest speaker at its annual Named Lecture in October, the Sir Henry Tizard Lecture, to celebrate the present. Finally, the branch is also running the Boscombe Down Balloon Challenge ( – a STEM challenge for school children to design and fly a high-altitude balloon – to encourage the future generation of budding engineers.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.