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Meet the Team

UAVAir is committed to bringing you the ultimate training experience from start to finish, which is why our team is made up of the best executives and trainers in the industry. Each member is passionate about UAV technology and seeks to share their knowledge and experience with our candidates. It is our goal for candidates to enjoy their training experience and graduate with a valuable skill.

Meet The Executive Team

The UAVAir executive team is made up of some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the industry including airline pilots, drone pilots, and consultants. Their expertise ensures UAVAir provides the best training course for those wishing to become a drone pilot in the UK.

  • Paul Rigby
  • Will Coldwell
  • Chris Janes
  • Bjarne Pedersen
  • Ben Keene
  • Aleks Kowalski
  • Paul Rigby
    Paul Rigby

    Director, CEO ConsortiQ

    Paul is a qualified drone pilot and leading consultant in the drone industry and has experience of flying drones on set in the City of London for the 2016 blockbuster Criminal to aerial filming for tourism in the The Gambia. Paul has a proven history of producing safety cases, including the first case to fly a drone in a congested area of London. He was recently re-elected into post as the Legislation Officer for ARPAS-UK and contributes back his spare time to the local youth community where he pioneered a drone training academy for his local air cadet squadron. His 10 years previous experience in operations and engineering for NATS makes him an asset to the team.

  • Will Coldwell
    Will Coldwell

    Business Director

    In addition to being a qualified and current airline pilot, Will has a BSc in Agriculture and Business Management from Newcastle University. He comes from a Military background where he gained valuable experience in the design and delivery of training courses and has spent time working in Africa as a qualified Game Ranger. Will is committed to bringing his varied experience and knowledge of working in different high risk sectors into the team and into the UAV industry

  • Chris Janes
    Chris Janes

    Director of Training

    Chris is committed to offering the best possible and most relevant training experience for current and future drone operators. He has a degree in Aerospace Systems Engineering, and offers excellent knowledge on safety and training from his current career as an airline pilot. Chris has operated large Airbus airliners both in the UK and the Middle East.

  • Bjarne Pedersen
    Bjarne Pedersen

    Director of Sales and Marketing

    Bjarne has prior experience in Aerial Photography and Marketing. Bjarne is also currently working as an airline pilot and has experience operating several large Boeing and Airbus airliners in both the UK and the Middle East. In addition Bjarne has a background in Flight Planning in Denmark. From his experience in manned aviation, he is committed to offer the best possible and relevant training course available on the market, with particular focus on Safety, Team-work (CRM) and Procedures.

  • Ben Keene
    Ben Keene

    Director of Operations

    Ben is one of the UK’s most experienced commercial drone operators, having been in the industry since the very beginning. Ben currently operates drones for some of the biggest names in the film and television industry, from Downton Abbey to 2016 blockbuster hit ‘London Has Fallen’. He has successfully overseen drone flights in some of the most congested areas of London, and the ground breaking permissions that he was able to coordinate were a world first. His vast experience and practical knowledge is a key asset that our candidates have access to. Excited and genuinely interested in shaping the industry, Ben was a committee member of the UK drone trade association ARPAS-UK, and enjoys passing on his experience to new pilots.

  • Aleks Kowalski
    Aleks Kowalski

    Managing Director

    Aleks is committed to bringing the UAV industry forward into the future, by insuring a rigid safety culture similar to that of manned aviation. He offers the team extensive knowledge from his career as a current airline pilot. Aleks is also involved with BALPA where he forms part of their Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and Air Traffic Services (ATS) committees, which has led to interaction at European level into the feasibility of future large civil RPAS. In addition Aleks holds a degree in Engineering from Cambridge University, a PGCE in Mathematics and Supervisory Management Qualifications.

Meet The Specialists

UAVAir have a dedicated team of specialists who are the best in the industry. Meet the specialists below.

  • Helen Cope
  • John Gore
  • Georgina Connaughton
  • Shea O'Donnell
  • Richard Chase
  • Emily Hanks
  • Helen Cope
    Helen Cope

    Marketing Manager

    Since graduating in 2004 with a 2.1 BSC Entertainment Technology from the University of Portsmouth, Helen has been working within the digital marketing world. After perfecting her craft for several years, in 2012 Helen opened up her own digital marketing agency where she got to work with many well-known brands, including clothing companies and celebrities in a variety of industries. During this time Helen learnt how to work well under pressure and adapt her skill set. Helen leads the marketing team for UAVAir and is a valuable asset handling all things online and offline for the company. Helen’s precision to detail and project management skills are second to none.

  • John Gore
    John Gore

    Operations Manager

    John is the Operations Manager for UAVAir, responsible for the day to day running of the UAVAir brand. From contacting new candidates to managing the team at our Whiteley Head Office, you’re sure to speak to him at some point along your journey. John brings with him an in depth knowledge of commercial operations, and customer service from an extensive retail career spanning over a decade, adding a dynamic customer-centric focus to our operation. You can chat to John by calling our team today, he will be happy to take your call.

  • Georgina Connaughton
    Georgina Connaughton

    Trainee Operations Manager

    Georgina is currently the youngest member of the UAVAir team and is completing her training to be the Operations Manager. From organising venues to guiding customers through their course, you will definitely be in contact with Georgina at some point throughout your journey with us. Georgina has a degree in English and American Studies from the University of Portsmouth. With a history of employment in hospitality and customer service, she will be happy to answer any queries that you have regarding your drone training needs.

  • Shea O'Donnell
    Shea O'Donnell

    Marketing Executive

    Shea joined the UAVAir team in late May as a Marketing Intern. Originally from upstate New York, Shea holds a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology and Marketing from Syracuse university. She is currently studying for an MBA in International Business at the University of Greenwich in London. Her previous internship experience and studies in marketing have given her a strong interest in the field and has motivated her to further her marketing skill set. Therefore, Shea joined the UAVAir team for a placement year on her MBA course.

  • Richard Chase
    Richard Chase

    Business Development Executive

    Richard joined UAVAir in March 2016 to develop and nurture business relationships. His strengths in quickly establishing rapport with clients have continued to open many opportunities. Following a diverse professional career in banking and training, Richard established his own Event Management business in 2008, and continues to deliver widely acclaimed events for many high-profile clients. His interpersonal skills have also been utilised on a number of high profile events such as the Invictus Games launch and BBC’s flagship programme; Sports Personality of the Year.

  • Emily Hanks
    Emily Hanks

    Personal Assistant

    Emily recently joined UAVAir taking on the role of Personal Assistant to the Directors. She is originally from Windsor but fell in love with Portsmouth while attending University. She graduated from the University of Portsmouth in 2012 with a BA (Hons) degree in Business Administration. In the last few years, Emily has focused on being a mother to her son, Oscar but is excited to begin her journey returning to work and being involved with a new company.

Meet the Training Team

UAVAir provides the most relevant, knowledgeable, and skillful training in order for our candidates to succeed. All of our instructors are certified airline or drone pilots, which makes us stand out from the crowd. Each instructor strives to deliver a high quality and safe UAV training experience.

  • Graham Tolhurst
  • Bryce Allcorn
  • Craig Jump
  • Matt Harmsworth
  • Col Lloyd
  • Chris Arnold
  • Phil Tarry
  • Andy Houston
  • Adam Bailey
  • Michael Surcombe
  • Espen Eriksen
  • Michael Kheng
  • Andy Lawrie
  • Graham Tolhurst
    Graham Tolhurst

    Chief Flight Assessor

    Graham is not only the Chief Flight Assessor of UAVAir but he is also the Technical Director and chief pilot of drone company Cloud 12 Ltd. Cloud 12 specialise in cinematography for the big screen and TV. He has been flying SUA’s, both fixed and rotary wing since 1988 and attained his remote pilot qualification in March 2013. Graham is also a British Model Flying Association club examiner and instructor. His previous profession was as a senior technical support engineer for electronic and IT systems. Putting his flying skills and electronics/IT knowledge together to co-found Cloud 12 was the next logical step.
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  • Bryce Allcorn
    Bryce Allcorn

    Training Manager

    Bryce is our Training Manager and responsible for the courses we deliver. He has been flying SUA, rotary and fixed wing for many years and was part of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Services Aerial Observation team back in 2009, where he remains as a Crew Manager and Instructor for a Retained Station. In previous roles Bryce has been responsible for the development, deployment and training of a resource and staff management and availability system within the fire service and has a strong engineering and health & safety background.

  • Craig Jump
    Craig Jump

    Instructor

    Craig has been piloting UAV’s for well over 5 years, and is well known in the industry and hobby scene. He was involved at the very start of the evolution of the technology for commercial use. Craig has written several manuals and guides on how to configure various flight controllers and is an active member of ARPAS UK. He has previously held senior roles in Sales and Business Development and has extensive knowledge of the Public Sector. He owns and manages his own aerial survey and imaging company, Sky View Video (Scotland), who operate from a base near Glasgow. He has worked with numerous TV, Film and Video production companies, including the BBC, STV and Channel 4, and advises Police Scotland on SUAS enforcement issues. In addition he holds an HNC in electrical and electronic engineering, and an HNC in computing.
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  • Matt Harmsworth
    Matt Harmsworth

    Instructor

    Matt is the Director and lead consultant at ROAVR UAS based in The Scottish Highland capital of Inverness. He is a qualified remote pilot and environmental consultant. Matt holds a NEBOSH health and safety qualification, Tech.Arbor.A and has been managing ROAVR for two years. ROAVR carries out inspection, survey and promotional work across a wide spectrum of industries from construction to oil and gas. Matt currently occupies a committee position within ARPAS UK and is an active player within the wider RPAS industry.
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  • Col Lloyd
    Col Lloyd

    Instructor

    Colin is the Founder of SkyOptics Ltd, an aerial imaging company based in Lancashire specialising in aerial photography and filming. He is a qualified UAV pilot and a member of ARPAS UK. Colin originally trained as a professional photographer and has many years experience as a senior photographer in a Liverpool studio. Following this he completed his commercial pilot training with CTC Aviation and holds an EASA ATPL. He is a current airline pilot with easyJet and operates Airbus A320 aircraft, with over 6000 hours logged operating short and medium haul flights
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  • Chris Arnold
    Chris Arnold

    Instructor

    Chris is a London based long haul airline pilot for a major UK carrier as well as an active light aircraft pilot. Prior to commercial flying, Chris was an aircraft engineer and worked in airfield ground operations in the South of England. In addition, as a current EASA qualified instructor he is keen to offer knowledge and experience from the general aviation area of the industry to budding operators.

  • Phil Tarry
    Phil Tarry

    Instructor

    Philip is the business manager and operational pilot for Halo Aerial Imaging. As the co-founder and first officially appointed Chairman of ARPAS, he has developed a broad understanding of the industry. After successfully overseeing the integration of the association with all necessary regulatory and legislative bodies, growing the membership from 10 members to over 300, he has now stepped down and is focusing on developing his own business. With a keen interest in the industrial applications for RPAS, he is working with end users to understand their needs and combining innovative technology to deliver new services to these emerging markets.
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  • Andy Houston
    Andy Houston

    Instructor

    Andrews background is in Aerospace which he studied at UMIST, Manchester. Since then he has spent more than a decade in commercial aviation and is currently flying the A380 for a major airline out of London Heathrow. He is a qualified Remote Pilot and the Director of Operations for Remote Skies Ltd, offering both aerial work and business services in the RPAS industry. Recently Andrew took a vice-chair position on the Regulation and Legislation working group at ARPAS-UK and is committed to developing the safety culture in the unmanned world.
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  • Adam Bailey
    Adam Bailey

    Instructor

    Adam is a professional drone operator, qualified building surveyor and professional photographer. He holds the BNUC-S and RPQs, is an Associate of RICS and has worked in the drone industry since late 2013. A founding member of ARPAS-UK ,and having previously held the position of Surveying Representative, Adam was elected as Vice-Chairman of ARPAS-UK in 2015. Adam is also the Director of Kingfisher APS Ltd an aerial photographic company specialising in working with drones in the built environment for the Property and Construction sectors. Kingfisher APS specialise in working in complex urban environments and work primarily in congested areas around the UK including Central London and Leeds City Centre. Kingfisher APS promote safe systems of working and ensure all their operations go beyond what is merely required.
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  • Michael Surcombe
    Michael Surcombe

    Instructor

    Michael worked for the BBC for 18 years, most recently overseeing technology innovation at BBC Wales where he established and led BBC Wales’s in-house aerials team.

 As a remote pilot Michael has filmed for Countryfile, BBC News, BBC Breakfast, Coast, the ONE Show and numerous documentaries. He also remains active as a producer for BBC Radio and TV.
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  • Espen Eriksen
    Espen Eriksen

    Instructor

    Espen works as an airline pilot, flying long haul for Thomson Airways, and MD of Altofocus Ltd, a drone company doing survey work for construction companies. Espen trained as an avionics engineer in the Norwegian Air Force and subsequently worked as a systems operator on seismic survey ships for the oil industry before he took up flying as a career. He has been flying commercially for 15 years.
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  • Michael Kheng
    Michael Kheng

    Instructor

    Michael has operated Kurnia Aerial Photography (www.TheDroneMan.net ) since the start of 2013 and is based in Lincolnshire. Michael was one of the founder committee members of ARPAS UK. Kurnia Aerial Photography carry out all types of aerial photography and videography ranging from small house shoots for estate agents to work for the BBC and other production companies.
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  • Andy Lawrie
    Andy Lawrie

    Instructor

    Andy is the founder of 3Axis-UAS Ltd a Consultancy company on the south coast of England, Andy has extensive knowledge in the operations of UAS systems in the commercial inspection sector. Andy is qualified as a UAS pilot holding both the BNUCs and SF-RP qualification. With over 11 years’ experience in UAS operations both military and commercial. Andy as worked in areas of Oil and Gas, both Offshore and Onshore , Inspections, Survey and many more sectors using both VTOL and FW. Andy is interested in making the UAS sector as safe and as professional as it can be through training and procedures.
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