A new company, Electric Airshows, has been launched to provide drone light shows to the UK’s outdoor events market.
Two well-known faces in the event production industry, Chris Crockford and Ian Lomas, have combined their considerable expertise and event experience to offer this new, professional and reliable service, one which will add an extra dimension to outdoor shows of all types and sizes.
After months spent in research, pilot training and regulatory approvals, the pair are now operating an initial fleet of drones purchased from leading Chinese manufacturer and drone show specialist, DAMODA Intelligent Control Technology.
The quad-copter drones, using accurate GPS RTK (Real Time Kinematics) positioning technology have already flown several successful displays, including a series of events for Alton Towers. The drones, which each carry a removable, all-in-one 10W RGBW LED and rechargeable battery pack, and can fly and maintain position in winds of up to 8m/s (17mph).
Crockford and Lomas met over 30 years ago at Meteorlites, and although they ventured down different paths they remained in contact.
Crockford’s varied career has included extensive work in entertainment technology, including a spell with Avolites, where he consulted on the Pearl, Sapphire and Diamond series consoles and developed their eDMX wireless system.
Having gained a PhD in Geospatial Rendering Systems and an MBA – not to mention an instrument rated pilot’s licence – Crockford took his ultra-high-tech skills to the world of Formula One, spending three years as Business Development Director with McLaren Racing.
Lomas has long been a familiar face in the production industry, racking up over three decades of experience in a broad range of concert touring, festivals and special events worldwide. The list is extensive but includes many years at Neg Earth as Lighting Crew/Crew Chief for artists such as Take That, Stereophonics, Sting, ELO, Rod Stewart and Radiohead.
At the onset of the pandemic in 2020, when event work suddenly dried up, a chance phone call from Crockford was to reunite them.
“I’d already been looking into drone technology of various kinds,” says Crockford, “but the use of drones for entertainment light shows really struck a chord with me. When I considered who might come on the journey with me, I immediately thought of Ian – and I’m delighted he agreed. His knowledge of production environments and processes is first class, and now, with his knowledge of drones and displays and our GVC licences, we feel the sky is the limit – if you’ll excuse the pun.”
Electric Airshows looks forward to working with colleagues old and new, offering a complete or adjunct service to production or rental companies. What’s more, the team is expecting to make new announcements very soon, to further expand the scope of drone technology for the entertainment industry.