Seizing the Energy of AIAA Today

Daniel Hastings, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, becomes AIAA President in May. He is looking forward to serving AIAA members and customers in this role during the next two years. He thanks Laura McGill, Immediate Past President, for her work advancing the capabilities of the Institute and extending AIAA’s reputation for excellence in aeronautics and astronautics.

The future depends on what you do today. – Mahatma Gandhi

As I look at where the aerospace enterprise writ large is going, I see growth for the last few years and I believe it will continue for many more years in a state of entrepreneurial fervor. Many innovators are trying new and interesting things in air and space, testing advanced technologies in laboratories, and starting new companies large and small. This energy extends across all three of the AIAA Domains, Aeronautics, Aerospace R&D, and Space. It is an exciting time for AIAA. It is a time when we must lead.

We seem to be at an inflection point in aerospace, moving beyond only major spacefaring governments taking on the big projects to seeing a lot of companies and other countries developing their own capabilities and doing interesting things. This entrepreneurial energy is very positive for our community, driving technology forward, driving price points down and potential investments up, and boosting enthusiasm worldwide for aerospace. Many of these efforts will succeed. Some will fail. This is the nature of our community since the beginning of flight. We will continue to pursue the horizon.

What I find especially exciting is that AIAA – the technical organization for aerospace professionals – is positioned at the center of this ferment today. As I take on the role of AIAA president for the coming two years, I am very aware that our position in the community requires us to serve our members in the most meaningful ways during this important time.

AIAA also is positioned to lead our community through helping to solve generational scale challenges, to address climate change and environmental sustainability, as well as to encourage society to embrace the new technologies that we are enabling. AIAA individual members and corporate members around the world are taking on the impacts of aircraft emissions to move us toward zero carbon emissions by 2050 in the aviation sector. This is a vital effort on behalf of our planet to serve society in the most environmentally responsible ways.

From our space-related members, we see their work using data from multiple satellite constellations in space to help us understand how the environment is changing. Our community is serving society on a global scale.

Our members are connecting people around the world to improve communications and enable all sorts of economic activity. Within this growing sector, we are also having to address space traffic awareness and coordination globally. AIAA is again front and center, leading through this challenge.

The need to attract the next set of bright minds to join our community looms. We want young people to pursue our technical fields and get involved. What we do is exciting! What we do is push the edge technically so that we can have a strong positive effect on our environment, our economy, and our society. AIAA is working on multiple programs with numerous partners to address the shifting demographics of society to ensure an aerospace education and career is available to all. We also are seeing how our community is embracing technical disciplines beyond the traditional ones to include human-machine teaming, artificial intelligence (AI), and more. AIAA forums, courses, and publications are featuring these areas where next-generation thinkers will be addressing them.

One of the most significant technological advances in recent history is the impact of artificial intelligence (AI). We don’t completely know all the ways AI will impact aerospace yet. We do know that AIAA must lead our community to advance the appropriate use of AI technology, harnessing our reputation for technical excellence to show us the way. We’ve already begun this effort by creating the AIAA Aerospace AI Advisory Group. I see AI as a high wind that’s coming. You know it’s coming, but exactly where it will take us, we don’t know yet.

The AIAA community is filled with big opportunities. It is incumbent upon us to seize the opportunities and build from our strength of technical excellence so we can help craft a future that’s exciting for everyone.

The AIAA community is filled with big opportunities. It is incumbent upon us to seize the opportunities and build from our strength of technical excellence so we can help craft a future that’s exciting for everyone.

Daniel Hastings (AIAA President, 2024–2026)

Seizing the Energy of AIAA Today