The Ambler

Amble's Community Newspaper: News & events from Amble in Northumberland – The Kindliest Port.

UAV pilot scoops top photography award

Amble man, ex-RAF pilot and now director of a high flying company manufacturing unmanned aircraft (drones) for universities and research companies, Nigel King, has recently been awarded the highest accolade from the British Institute of Professional Photographers (BIPP).

The Fox Talbot Award is the premier photographic award of the BIPP and it is only awarded under exceptional circumstances.  It has only been awarded twice since 2007.

The award is given to photographers who have made an outstanding achievement in the field of photography and have pioneered new methods or equipment that have made significant advances in photography.

Nigel King has done all of these through the development of unmanned aircraft otherwise known as UAVs.  Research companies and universities around the world are using his small aircraft that have been designed almost entirely by himself.  Currently two of his drones are flying at an incredible 10,000 ft in Chile’s Atacama Desert on a NASA funded project designed to develop navigation software for the next generation Mars Rover.

Nigel says, “This is the right time for non-military use of UAVs. In the right hands and with the right intention they have such huge potential for improving quality of life and reducing costs of otherwise expensive aerial surveys.

“The ability to cover a large area safely, and have the aircraft do virtually all the work means that we are now on the verge of allowing developing world communities to truly benefit from the development of this technology.  With the right investment, the next few years could be truly groundbreaking”.

Nigel started on his current business three years ago after leading a university project with a Canadian UAV.  There were huge challenges to overcome, including stringent regulations from the Civil Aviation Authority.

His company has overcome almost all the hurdles and now offers a comprehensive package of training and equipment, with a very clear focus on correct use and public safety.

Nigel runs his company QuestUAV from Amble, his home town. You can follow him on twitter @questuav.

Mapping the world and beyond

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