Updated: Dec 3, 2018
Drone User went to the UK Drone Show this December at the NEC in Birmingham where we met up with many old friends, readers and managed to make some new acquaintances. It’s a perfect venue for such an exhibition although the hall in which the show was held was a little oversized which didn’t do the show any favours. There’s nothing worse than seeing empty floor space. That’s no fault of the organisers though. The only other disadvantage of the NEC is the £16 a day car parking which is rather excessive.
The Drone Show was run in conjunction with the Technology Show, Live which, although interesting at times, became a bit of a nuisance after a while. It was just a noisy distraction. At some points it was so loud you had to pause any conversation you might have been in the middle of. A headache was on the cards by the end of the day.
However, that aside, for anyone into drones as a hobbyist or professional, there was something there for everyone.
One of the main sponsors, Jessops had an interesting stand with lots of drones and other accessories on display and for sale. Sales seemed to be quite brisk early on in the day. Yuneec had a presence and were doing flight displays on several drones. They didn’t have the full range of Yuneec drones on display though.
DJI had a stand alongside the London Camera Exchange and the stand seemed to be busy all day. They had lots of drones on display to get hands on and in particular, the DJI Pocket created a lot of interest. I had a go with it and must say, it’s quite impressive. The active tracking was something to behold. The only downside I think is the small screen. Even with my glasses on it was just that bit too small. Connected to a smartphone however, it was much easier to see.
Other retailers such as Drones Direct, UK Drone Store, KoolToyz and Hobby Mounts all seemed to be doing a roaring trade. Most drones would have ended up under the Christmas tree this year I guess.
There were training companies, associations such as the BMFA and ARPAS along with insurance companies such as Coverdrone.
The theatre offered a packed program of presentations which were varied and all very informative. Although the main stage was far too loud and ruined most of the presentations.
As the Drone Show was combined with the Tech Show, as expected there was other tech on display. I expected there to be more and was somewhat disappointed. I could have bought the latest skateboard, Xbox or Playstation or even the Tesla car at £300,000 but I would have liked to see much more innovative tech.
There were plenty of opportunities to get hands on. You could play on the latest console games, try your hand at a drone simulator or even take the seat of a Formula 1 car.
It was great to get on stage and talk about my drone travels and Drone User Magazine. I’m always keen to share my experiences and I think it was well received.
Not being into racing and FPV it was really good to see a live race track set up and meet some of the top pilots in the world. Racing drones was heavily featured in the show.
All in all it was a great weekend. I think the organisers will learn a lot from this year’s show and it can only get better. Organising an event on this level can only be a challenge.
Jason Bradbury (ex Gadget Show) played host to the live event. We caught him trying out a drone simulator.
Would I go again?
Yes, I think I would. I personally got a lot from the show and would hope that future shows are even better