The days of 2015 are fading fast, and what an incredible year it has been for the Society. Our members saw the first flights of aircraft such as the Airbus Helicopters H160, Bell 525, Mitsubishi Regional Jet, and Sikorsky MH-53K. Our members also accomplished certification of the Bombardier C-Series and Honda Jet. Some of our members’ projects have even made headlines outside the atmosphere. In the the past year I have been able to visit two civilian test pilot schools, both of them corporate members of the Society. At both schools I was pleased to see that their livery of test aircraft had grown, signaling an optimism that the improving economy will spur even more investment and innovation in our industry. I also participated in what I believe to be another first for us - the Patuxent River Chapter held a chapter event that was broadcast on the web.
In November our Board of Directors approved hiring an Executive Director and an Associate Director. Jaime Silva and Kristen Faison have been hard at work, reaching out to our membership and continuing improvements to how . Let me take a moment to explain the Board’s objectives. When the search committee began looking for a new Director, we found an amazing, diverse pool of talent. Some lived in the Lancaster area, others far away from California, some had decades of experience in flight test, many were gifted communicators. While any of the candidates could have served alone, the heavy demands on that individual might have led to a compromise. The Society has two fundamental membership groups - Corporate Members, and Individual Members. The Board adopted a team approach, where the Executive Director could focus on Corporate Members while the Associate Director could focus on Individual Members. Each Director serves part time, one of them from our corporate office in California, and the other from their home in Texas. The Board is very excited, and we hope that all members will appreciate the new arrangement and the enhanced service it offer to them.
The Board of Directors is now in the second year of our two year term, and in the summer of 2016 the Society will hold elections eight positions, four as Officers and four as Directors. The Board meets once a month via web conference, and every member of the Board is assigned secondary duties. There is also our Technical Council. Its members contribute to the SFTE Handbook, the SFTE credentialing program, and serve as judges for technical papers at our symposia. If you would like to help a little closer to home, serving as a Chapter Officer is an another way to learn and gain experience. Our Society thrives because of that volunteerism. In 2016, please volunteer as a leader, organizer, or contributor in our organization. You will find it more rewarding than you could ever imagine!
President, Society of Flight Test Engineers