the dronetraining.co.uk team
…right right right…!!
we present to you the dronetraining.co.uk team
We are certainly not RAF Red Arrows pilots (although we are proud to have amongst our ranks ex-RAF pilots) but we do strive to be the best at what we do and to entertain where possible (Jonathan and his cow phobia). There is a lot of expertise across the team; from manned to unmanned, from creative to technical surveying, from urban to agriculture.
The ethos at dronetraining.co.uk is to make sure that our current candidates and former candidates (alumni if you prefer) are looked after, kept up to date and provided with the best resources to keep them the best remote pilots in their industry. We also try and bring a light-hearted approach to what can sometimes seem a complicated process, we are however extremely safety conscious and professional and the team has a pedigree of experience like no other out there.
Director and Accountable Manager
Elliott is a Director of Drone Training Ltd and also the Accountable Manager, which means that if we get things wrong then he goes to prison!
Elliott has a wealth of experience from custom builds to high end DJI drones and has been involved in both creative and surveying work. The original operating company that Elliott established (HexCam) is now run by two very experienced drone pilots and occasionally Elliott is permitted to go on operational forays that keeps him current with the latest drones. Elliott has a blooming passion for FPV and is currently developing ways that this can be used in the industry.
Elliott is based in Norwich and runs the drone training centre there and flies both fixed wing and helicopter/multirotor types.
Elliott and Jonathan met in 2012, and in 2014 helped establish the company that became Drone Training Ltd trading as dronetraining.co.uk (formerly The Aerial Academy). The goal of the company is to deliver drone training in an operationally relevant way, support drone pilots and organisations that use drones, and do all that in the nicest possible way!
Jonathan is a Director of Drone Training Ltd.
Jonathan co-founded his drone operating business in 2010, although drone was not the term used back then! At that stage he was flying large remote controlled custom-built helicopters. By the time he met Elliott in 2012, large multirotors had replaced the spinning discs of death. He was mainly involved in creative filming but has also undertaken survey and inspection work. Jonathan almost exclusively focuses on training and developing systems to aid remote pilots.
Jonathan is based in Swansea and runs the drone training centre there as well as theoretical training at Bath. He flies both fixed wing and helicopter/multirotor types.
Jonathan and Elliott met in 2012, and in 2014 helped establish the company that became Drone Training Ltd trading as dronetraining.co.uk (formerly The Aerial Academy). The goal of the company is to deliver drone training in a relevant way, support drone pilots and organisations that use drones, and do all that in the nicest possible way!
David is Chairman of Drone Training Ltd which means he does his best to keep the directors strategically focussed despite their enthusiasm and greater joy for doing practical things with drones and training others to do so safely and legally.
David originally trained and practised as a lawyer, but has since run a law firm, a software company, a NASDAQ e-discovery business and a high tech cutting machinery company. Since 2013 he has worked mainly as a business coach and non-exec across various sectors.
David first met JC in 2004 working in the software sector where they were both directors of an extremely successful company that achieved sector domination within the legal and medical fields. Having kept in touch ever since that business was sold, JC introduced Elliott to David in 2014 and the three have worked to develop Drone Training ever since. This means that David can now tell if a drone is the right way up and JC and Elliott can sit through board meetings without (obviously) falling asleep.
Alexandra worked with Elliott at HexCam before moving back to the USA. In late 2017 she thankfully returned and took up the Operations Manager role in Norwich with Drone Training Ltd.
As the Operations Manager, Alex takes responsibility for ensuring that all current candidates go through their training in a smooth fashion and, in particular, makes sure that they stay on track for achieving their goals, whether that is to receive a PfCO or simply gaining their certification.
Alex is also responsible for helping School of Drones members interact with the CAA, especially at the time of permission renewals and variations. Her dedication to that process means she has developed an excellent understanding of the CAA processes and we get very few issues with initial applications and renewals.
Accounts and Social Media
She works with Elliott to coordinate the social media side of dronetraining.co.uk and is always on the look out for interesting projects to write about that our School of Drone members undertake.
Lacey is responsible for the company books, chasing down missing receipts and ensuring that our instructors have up to date course materials.
How would she describe herself; “the balancer of books, crocheter and Disney freak?”
Lucy set up HexCam with Elliott in 2012. Whilst she doesn’t really have an interest in drones, she is incredibly organised and assists Elliott in the day to day running of his home office.
Lucy is also responsible for the wellbeing of the team and maintaining our compliance records to ensure everything we do is above board.
instructors and examiners
Instructor and Examiner
Jacques has been operating drones commercially for Vertech Imaging since 2014; his work covering creative filming as well as technical applications in surveying, mapping and 3D modelling.
He is a CAA permission holder for both fixed and rotary-wing aircraft and has a strong background in recreational radio control flying. Jacques also offers custom assembly services on fixed wing drones. He previously worked in construction and IT fields and holds a BSc degree in surveying.
Jacques delivers the theoretical competence course, operational assessments and practical flight training in Cobham, Surrey. He has been part of the dronetraining.co.uk teaching team since May 2017 and is the team’s go to fixed-wing specialist.
Instructor and Examiner
Alistair is a commercial airline pilot and experienced drone operator. He started his flying career in the RAF, where he flew operational tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and also became Chief Pilot for Her Majesty The Queen.
He gained experience of unmanned aviation in the RAF, working mainly with large fixed-wing UAVs. When he left the RAF in 2012 for civil aviation, he also set up his own commercial drone company, Kittyhawk Drones. He started training drone courses at Whispercam in 2015 and joined dronetraining.co.uk as an instructor in 2018.
Al delivers the theoretical competence course and operational assessments at Newbury, Berkshire.
Instructor and Examiner
Carys Kaiser (www.caryskaiser.co.uk) is a freelance producer director (BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 – Yorkshire Vet, Lakes and Dales) and has broadcast TV camera credits for The Truth about plastic surgery (BBC Scotland), BBC Songs of Praise, BBC network news, BBC Breakfast and regional news. She has flown drones for BBC Sport, BBC News, Channel 4 and various independent TV production companies as well as flying the drone on live outside broadcasts for TV. Carys has been a film maker for 15 years.
She is a drone pilot and has been writing a blog and public speaking about drones for the last 5 years as The Drone Lass.
She was invited to talk about the creative use of drones at the World Congress of drones in Brisbane in Autumn 2019 after appearances in the UK and Switzerland at camera and drone training industry events including the Photography show.
She enjoys running, walking and cycling so she can eat cake!
Carys delivers the theoretical competence course, operational assessments and practical flight training in Glossop, Derbyshire.
Ben is an extremely talented and experienced drone operator. He founded his company, Rogue State Media, in 2013 and has been involved in many exciting projects, witnessing the rapid development of drones in the creative industry. He has produced video sequences of almost any subject you can imagine and frequently works with a small team on standby for every conceivable drone project.
Ben has worked closely with Elliott and Jonathan over the years, and was involved in some of the early training of dronetraining.co.uk. Since then Ben has focussed on producing high end film and television content and his website has a long list of big name productions. Rogue State Media uses the latest and greatest equipment. Currently their clients are being assigned the DJI Inspire 2 with X7 cinema package (20 minute flight time, 6K RAW, excellent lenses).
Given his knowledge and experience, the practical flight training that Ben provides for dronetraining.co.uk is of great worth for remote pilots looking to improve their creative flying skills.
Simon’s introduction into the world of drones came about through learning to fly RC helicopters at Phoenix UAV Centre. After learning to fly a model helicopter, learning to fly a drone wasn’t too much of a challenge and Simon was soon able to combine his passion of photography with flying when he purchased his first drone. After gaining his PfCO, he started working as a flight instructor at Phoenix UAV Centre and set up his own aerial filming company: www.skynamite.co.uk.
Flying for Aden Productions on the BBC Wales series Iolo’s Snowdonia and Iolo’s Street Life put Simon in the fortunate position of being able to combine two of his main passions in life: flying drones, and wildlife. Simon recalls: ‘It was a truly privileged position to be in whilst flying in the stunning Welsh countryside, surrounded by amazing wildlife.’
When not flying drones, Simon can often be found filming wildlife on a river somewhere in Wiltshire, or at his local flying fields, flying fixed-wing RC planes.
Simon joined the dronetraining.co.uk team in 2017 and carries out operational assessments and practical flight training at Bath.
Instructor and Examiner
Steve is a commercial long haul airline pilot who has been teaching and examining in aviation since 2001.
He began his flying career in the RAF as a pilot, operating around the globe, and was a qualified flying instructor on single engine, twin turbo-prop and multi-jet aircraft. In the civilian world, Steve qualified as a flight instructor and still flies light aircraft outside of his current role as a commercial pilot.
He started training drone courses at Whispercam in 2015 and joined dronetraining.co.uk as an instructor in 2018.
Steve delivers the theoretical competence course and operational assessments at Cupar, Scotland.
Instructor and Examiner
Jack has been building, flying and drone mad since 2010. He holds CAA PfCO number 36 in the UK, as well as being part of a farming family his whole life, which led to him founding Drone Ag in 2015.
Drone Ag concentrates on drone systems and software for agriculture, including mapping, scouting and spraying systems.
Jack is a highly experienced remote pilot and has been part of the dronetraining.co.uk team since June 2017. He delivers the theoretical competence course, operational assessments and practical flight training in Alnwick, Northumberland.
Chunk is the top dog at Lygos and responsible for much of Jonathan’s strange humour.