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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

AIAA – 1988 to the Present

By 1965, AIAA had 37,931 members, and 209 staff in offices in New York, Los Angeles and London. It had an active conference, publication, and honors and awards programs, and had begun to get more involved in public policy issues during the 1970s, becoming a nationally respected voice in the aerospace community. This activity was part of the decision to move from New York to Washington, D.C., in 1988. The Technical Information Service remained in New York, but all other positions were moved to the new Aerospace Center Building at 370 L’Enfant Promenade. Only 25 staff members chose to move to Washington, and Jim Harford also retired at this time after 35 years with the ARS and AIAA. The new Executive Director, Cort Durocher, started on 1 October 1988.

The AIAA was now a mature professional society. Cort Durocher brought AIAA into the computer age with the purchase of 100 desktop computers for all staff, that could be networked, and under his management the Institute weathered years of fiscal ups and downs. AIAA conferences branched out from just specialist meetings to include governmental support, from NASA to the Air Force and others. The most notable achievement of AIAA during this time, however, was the creation of the AIAA Foundation in 1996 to administer AIAA-funded awards and scholarships. Today, the Foundation awards over $150,000 in scholarships, grants and honoraria per year.

To celebrate 100 years of powered flight, the AIAA Board allocated $3.7 million for the Evolution of Flight Campaign, the largest investment in a single program in the history of the Institute. Comprising over three years of activities, the program culminated in a week-long celebration coinciding with other centennial events in Dayton, Ohio in July of 2003.

Cort Durocher retired from AIAA in 2004 and the current Executive Director, Robert Dickman, started in February 2005, inheriting an organization that has never offered a broader range of programs supporting the members and the industry. For over 80 years, AIAA has taken great pride in its achievements and those of its members, and looks forward to continuing its support into the far future.


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