All of our pilots are hugely experienced, and have undertaken rigorous drone flight training.  We carry £5m of public liability insurance.  We are proud of our zero-accident record.  No drone flown by us has ever caused any harm or damage to any person, animal or property.

We are leaders in the field of drone safety.  We created the first comprehensive set of checklists for safe drone flying, which we have always made freely available to other drone pilots via our website.  We are pleased to say these checklists are widely copied and used across the industry.


Alan Proto
Pilot - Chester

The founder of PhantomFlightSchool was among the first people in the UK to complete his Remote Pilot Theory Certificate and Operations Manual for the CAA, and is acknowledged as an accomplished drone pilot, having secured the highest marks to date in his Flight Test with the leading NQE, RUSTA.

Prior to founding PhantomFlightSchool, for twenty years he was involved in the education sector. It is his unique perspective that has provided the inspiration for our focus on helping people learn how to fly the DJI range of drones safely and enjoyably, and on taking drones to flying sites around the world through our one-of-a-kind holidays programme.

For several years, Alan lived in the mountains in Chamonix, France, and shares a passion for skiing with his co-pilots Anto and Anna.


Anto Baird
Roaming Pilot

Anto has been an adventurer, extreme skier, and keen photographer and film maker his whole life, as well as running a successful software company until he sold it in 2014. He has ski-toured extensively in Antartica (seen here), Spitzbergen, and South Georgia, and was part of the first team ever to traverse the frozen Lake Baikal in Russia, end to end.

Anto is our in-house expert on flying drones FirstPersonView, and on drone racing, as well as anything technical. He takes the lead when we are asked to carry out operations at challenging and hard-to-get-to flying sites.


Anna Henly
Pilot - Edinburgh

Anna is a renowned commercial and portrait photographer based in Edinburgh.  She has also won two awards in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.   She is the official creative photographer for the £1.5 billion Queensferry Crossing, the replacement Forth Road Bridge in Scotland, where she is using her DJI Phantom to add a new dimension to her photography of the bridge’s construction.  Over the last three years Anna has competed in three Ironman triathlons, all good training for skiing, the passion she shares with Alan and Anto.  

We are delighted that Anna has joined us, and look forward to working with Anna on drone photography workshops at her Edinburgh studio complex in 2016.


Simon Smith
Pilot - Maidstone

Simon accumulated a wealth of practical and managerial experience in the fields of Automotive Engineering and Construction before being bitten by the drone bug.

When not flying he fills any spare time with slowly rebuilding the family’s Victorian farmhouse deep in the Garden of England.

Calm, methodical and analytical by nature, he really relishes helping novice pilots get off to a safe and enjoyable start in their drone experience as well as helping more experienced pilots to polish their skills in readiness for their PfCO Flight Test.

Sadly, Simon is another non-skier, being much more of a “petrol head”, maintaining a lifelong love of fast cars, bikes and karts, although more recently he has added kayaking to his extracurricular activities.


Newall Hunter
Roaming Pilot

Newall is an Extreme Adventurer and one of only a few people in the world to have completed the Explorers Grand Slam – Climbing the highest mountain on each continent and skiing to both the North and South Poles.

The highlights of this challenge were standing on the top of Everest in May 2011, and skiing solo from the edge of Antarctica to the geographic South Pole in 41 days, for which he was nominated as Adventurer of the Year 2016. Newall is an engineer by background and has 18 years of working for the CAA and NATS. He holds his CAA permission for aerial work and while he happily undertakes any type of aerial work, likes to focus on aerial surveying and attempting to fly in some of the remote locations that his adventures take him to.


Tom Jacobs
Pilot - Cambridge

Tom is passionate about the outdoors, especially his beloved mountains. He has travelled extensively, spending time in North America and Australasia.

He has had a keen photographic eye from childhood, and has often climbed peaks in the UK in the dark in order to capture the landscape in the dawn light.  As well as his photographic skills, Tom’s previous experience in healthcare allowed him to develop his teaching and mentoring skills.  He has a very natural, clear and personable teaching style.

Tom is also a keen motorcyclist as well as long distance walker, he completed the Pennine Way a few years ago in one of the wettest months on record (he never wants to see another moorland bog!) and has more walks planned for the future.

Tom is our principle pilot in Cambridge, where he gives one and two hour lessons, and prepares people for their PfCO flight test.


Darren Spinks
Pilot - Winchester & Oxford

Darren has been in the creative industry for over 25 years. After graduating in graphic design, he started his career in London as a designer on magazines, then went on to run a dynamic design partnership, with clients all over the world. The advent of digital cameras and affordable editing software saw Darren become a professional photographer. When DJI started making commercial-quality camera drones, Darren immediately recognised their potential, and was an early adopter. Darren’s experience and knowledge of flying drones on a commercial basis in sometimes hazardous environments is a great asset to PhantomFlightSchool. For anyone wanting to learn how to fly drones creatively to capture stunning aerial video and photography, Darren will be on hand to help.


Steve Lowery
Pilot - Bradford

Steve has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to Photography, Videography and editing having been in the industry for over 35 years.

Having served in the RAF for 11 years as a propulsion fitter on gas turbine engines, he has a love of all things aeronautical.  When he’s not flying you’ll usually find him in his own studios in Yorkshire.

Steve lived in Spain and speaks fluent Spanish, making him an invaluable member of our Spanish Drone Flying Holiday crew.

Steve has been flying drones for several years now, and undertakes commercial drone-flying projects in the UK and in Spain, alongside running his photography studio.


Rob Nicholls
Pilot - Bristol

Having a degree in Psychology & Social Studies and Community Justice Rob has spent much of his working life with the Probation Service which might explain the high level of empathy he achieves with all of his clients. After a rather chequered history with R/C helicopters Rob came to drones in 2014 and now as well as teaching for Phantom Flight School he has two companies producing photography and video, both from the ground and from an aerial perspective. He has a particular interest in mapping, photogrammetry and survey work in the industrial sector. Outside work, he loves the outdoors and sporting activity. Having been a surfer for 26 years, at 42 Rob is now demonstrating his willingness to embrace new challenges by taking-up skateboarding! He coaches his son’s Under 9s rugby team and still turns out himself on occasion, albeit for a Veterans’ team.