Nigel Gifford OBE Masterclass - Ascenta™, Drone Technology and Sustainable Ethical Food Aid Solutions
Nigel was part of the revolutionary team that created Ascenta™, the solar powered high altitude long endurance platform (pseudo satellite) acquired by Facebook in 2014 as part of their global connectivity programme to provide free internet to the massive un-urbanised parts of the globe.
Since then he has led the team at Flutter Innovation in the development of a communication platform for UAVs to be used in humanitarian disasters, which will communicate directly with survivors.
Also in for the humanitarian aid sector, he holds an innovative patent to make manned and unmanned aircraft from compressed and vacuum packed foodstuffs.
The UAV/drone is called Pouncer™ and is designed to assist in first response disaster management using an inbound delivery system direct to where the food is needed.
The Pouncer™ combines aerospace technology with food and agri- technology in its build, and has a power unit made from cardboard and compressed air.
To most people his skill set would be random to say the least. A solutions architect in the agile aerospace and allied technology world, who studied aeronautical engineering at college; but also an experienced and skilled executive chef. Born into the restaurant world he also has over 10 years of military service where he became skilled in feeding soldiers and explorers in hostile environments (He is the author of the Royal Geographical Societies’ Catering Manual).
Nigel is able to take you on the truly fascinating (and funny) story of the people involved with his “aeroplanes”, their capabilities, and especially the phenomenal journey that Ascenta™ undertook from its humble beginnings on a farm in Somerset and a garden shed in Wells to morphing into the flying wing called Aquila™. He also talks on his adventure and expedition life and association with Mt Everest (29,028ft) as a climber, a skydiver and organiser of the GKN Parajet expedition in 2007 and the ways he found to test some of his “theories “and the equipment.
This master class is also an object lesson in how the intercontinental aerospace industry is rapidly changing and small start-ups are winning against the large corporations and conglomerates.
Nigel embodies an extraordinary combination of culinary knowledge and experience with Aeronautical engineering expertise, daring entrepreneurism and capacity for adventure.
Finance Network Manager, Satellite Applications, Harwell