Welcome to Unmanned. This is not a how to be a drone pilot or how to run a drone business book. Although, if you approach it in that way, there are some gems that will help you short-cut some of the mistakes that I’ve made on this journey.
I’ll take you with me from those early days plane spotting with friends and messing around with RC models with my dad, to the disappointment and the realisation I couldn’t fly helicopters. The highs of that first flying lesson years later and then handling a fast jet at low level in the Scottish Mountains, from standing on top of Skye with Michael Bay to sheltering from the rain at Stonehenge with Anthony Hopkins.
As we run through this story, I’ll be using some acronyms and terms you may not be familiar with. Just scoot to the back of the book and you’ll find a glossary and some links out to additional resources.
It’s been a blast. Enjoy the story.
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I’m Matt, currently 41 and living right up in The Scottish Highlands with my son James and dog Gigha. I was driven right up here by the madness that is the southeast of England after running a tree surgery business for ten years.
Growing up as a child in the 1980s, Saturdays were consumed by hours of TV watching Murdoch throw a helicopter around the sky, Street Hawk blast off that ramp, Knight Rider tearing up the highway and Blue Thunder creating havoc.
I wanted a piece of this! Desperate to fly helicopters for the Army Air Corp, my world was turned upside down when I discovered my eyesight was frankly crap, aged about 15. So just before my GCSEs, around the time I should be chasing girls (I looked like a hideous version of Harry Potter, many would say I still do!), I soon discovered that anything to do with wood is unlikely to make you a millionaire. So I moved into environmental consultancy and ultimately discovered ‘drones’ in early 2012.
Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world playing with big boys toys and rubbing shoulders with some Hollywood big wigs.
I now run ROAVR UAS in the Scottish Highlands, a multi-disciplined media and survey and inspection company, who have permissions to operate UAS all over the world, and I like to think we are one of the most respected UAS companies in the UK. I’ve got thousands of hours flying drones now, have taught hundreds how to fly and instructed over 50 UAS ground schools. It’s funny where life takes you.