It is with great sadness that we report that Stanley Ratcliffe has died at the age of 96.
Stan, as he was known by colleagues, was a maths graduate, having in 1940 began a career at the Telecommunications Research Establishment outstation at Worth Matravers, Dorset, working on the development of radar. In 1942 he moved with the unit to Malvern, to what became the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment (RSRE).
He made significant contributions to advances in both ground and airborne radar and, in 1958, was seconded to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation to advise on the introduction of computers to air traffic control. His return to Malvern saw a long and dedicated association with the many complex inter-related aspects of civil air traffic management.
Stan became an internationally recognised authority on developments leading to the safe movement of future air traffic. He served on many national and international bodies and, in 1968, largely for his original work on Computer Aided Approach Sequencing, was the first system-orientated scientist at Malvern to be awarded a Special Merit post.
He joined the Institute in 1959 and became a resolute supporter, producing 17 papers for the Journal, giving presentations at RIN international conferences and becoming a referee for Journal submissions. He served on the Technical Committee for many years as well joining the Membership and Fellowship Committee, being elected to Council and becoming Vice-President. He became a Fellow in 1972, was awarded the Bronze Medal in 1983 and, for ‘Outstanding contributions made to the Institute over the past 38 years’, in 1997 was awarded the Institute’s Gold Medal.
Stan Ratcliffe also published many external papers, gaining great respect for the Institute. He was a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and Member of the Royal Statistical Society, the Operational Research Society and the Guild of Air Traffic Control Officers.
There will be a private family ceremony on 24 July, but former colleagues or friends of Stan would be welcome to join a reception that day from 1430 at the Cotford Hotel, 51 Grange Road, Malvern, Worcs WR14 2HU.
We will miss Stan’s expertise and convivial company and pass our condolences to his family.