ACA Woking News by Bill Bawden, PRO

20 May 2014

Shuttle Triumphs – and Disasters

Stephen Carver

Members and guests attending the May meeting of the AirCrew Association at Fairoaks Airport welcomed the return of Stephen Carver of the Cranfield School of Management to give another highly informative lecture, this time on the history of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Stephen devoted the major part of his narrative to two examples in the Space Shuttle programme when the concerns of NASA engineers and astronauts were over-ridden by political expediency, each time ending in tragedy.  In 1986 Challenger exploded soon after its launch and in 2003 Columbia broke up on re-entry resulting in the deaths of both crews.  Stephen made a most compelling case that these accidents were foreseeable and preventable.

Annual General Meeting

Addressing the earlier Annual General Meeting, the Association’s president, Sqn Ldr ‘Jimmy’ James AFC* DFM, stated that all the current officers and committee members had indicated their willingness to continue.  The chairman, Ron Hepburn, and the others were then unanimously re-elected and tribute paid to the hard work undertaken by the secretary, Tony Boxall.  The meeting approved charitable donations of £250 each to the Bomber Command Memorial Fund and to Project Propeller.

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