Student Branch of the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences
THE aeronautical societies at the University of Michigan have always performed the function of uniting enthusiasts of aeronautics into a strong progressive group.
The history of these clubs, from which our present organization known as the University of Michigan Student Branch of the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences has emerged, preceded the founding of the Department of Aeronautical Engineering by some seven years. Although the exact date of the founding of the first club is unknown, reference can be found to an aeronautical society as far back as 1909.
The first Aero Club benefited from the very considerable interest of Dean Herbert C. Sadler, then professor and chairman of the Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, and from Professor Felix W. Pawlowski, who originated the first courses in aeronautical engineering at the University.
The activities of the club were as varied as they were extensive. A wind tunnel was constructed to study the behavior of various bodies in wind currents, and two gliders were designed and built by the members during the years 1911 to 1914. In 1915 the club was presented with a 1912 Model B Wright hydroplane, and in 1916, with a 35,000 cubic foot capacity free balloon. These were donations to the club from Russel Alger of Detroit and Frederic W. Alger ('18e) of Clarkston.
In 1925 the club's balloon was entered in the Detroit News Race and placed second. A part of the prize money was used to secure membership in the Balloon Section of the Detroit Flying Club. This enabled students to make flights in the balloons of that organization, and a number of successful trips were taken. In 1928 the club's activities were officially divided into a Balloon Section, a Glider Section, and a Motor Plane Section. The new Motor Plane Section proved its worth in 1930 by the fact that two men from this section were sent as delegates to the Collegiate Air Tour of the East.
At a meeting of the aeronautical engineers held on October 2, 1934, it was decided to form an Aeronautical Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, to be associated with the Mechanical Engineering Division already in existence. This was the first time the Aero Club had been affiliated with a national engineering society, and membership in it was subject only to the charter regulations of the national organization.
On May 19, 1936, at a combined meeting of the Aero Branch of the A.S.M.E. Page 1948and the I.A.S., the A.S.M.E. branch petitioned the I.A.S. to absorb the club under the name "University of Michigan Student Branch of the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences." The national organization accepted the request and the Student Branch was founded. Membership to the branch is open to all students interested in aeronautical engineering.
The branch sponsors regularly scheduled technical meetings at which are presented guest lecturers and film showings. Field trips are made to aeronautical industries and government laboratories, and an annual picnic is held with the aeronautical engineering faculty. The University of Michigan Student Branch has established a record of active as well as successful participation in the annual regional conferences, organized by the various senior sections of the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences, which give student members an opportunity to present papers in competition for cash awards. First award papers, graduate and undergraduate from each conference, are published annually. Student members may subscribe, at special rates, to the Aeronautical Engineering Review and the Journal of the Aeronautical Sciences. After graduation, any student member will automatically qualify for transfer to associate membership in the Institute.