Airwards Drone Contest Soars into Second Year

A person with a drone

Source: Airwards via Visualskies

Soaring on the success of its inaugural flight, a major global drone awards contest has been given clearance for takeoff.

Described as a “program dedicated to recognizing positive drone use cases from around the world,” Britain-based Airwards launched last year to overwhelming success—garnering nearly 200 entries from 23 countries. The group’s 2021-22 showing promises to fly even higher, with categories to include: Technology, Operations, Supporting Services, Industries/Fields and Giving Back, in addition to a People’s Choice section.

“From life-affirming conservation work and lifesaving projects to pure innovation and groundbreaking tech, Airwards is the first awards program to recognize the breadth of drone work being carried out around the world,” an Airwards spokesperson stated in a press release.

New judges

The contest is open to individual drone users and companies. For 2021-22, Airwards has announced the addition of  new judges:

  • Catherine Ball, business pioneer, advisor, speaker and professor
  • Rabih Bou Rashid, CEO, FEDS
  • Chris Daniels, CCO, Flare Bright
  • Andi Fisanich, Head of Humanitarian, Wingcopter
  • Julie Garland, CEO, Avtrain (2020-21 Airwards winner)
  • Fatema Hamdani, Co-Founder, Kraus Aerospace
  • Tautvydas Juskauskas, Drone Specialist, UNICEF Supply Division
  • Mafunase Malenga, CEO, Shengamo
  • Uttam Pudasaini, Co-Founder, NAXA (2020-21 Airwards winner)
  • Simon Robinson, Founder, Inspire Africa
  • Ramón Roche, Program Manager, Dronecode Foundation (2020-21 Airwards winner)
  • Ruchi Saxena, Founder, Caerobotics (2020-21 Airwards winner)
  • Mark Watson, Head of UTM, NATS

New categories

For 2021-22, Airwards will feature new People’s Choice categories. Described as celebrating “companies of varying scales as well as individuals impacting, disrupting or rising within the drone industry,” the new categories include:

  • Organization – Standards
  • Organization – Media Outlets
  • Person – Executive / Senior Leadership
  • Person – Under 30
  • Person – Pilot / Operator

Streamlined process

Registration to Airwards are free and open beginning Dec. 1 to Jan. 2022. The entry process includes a quick-fire qualifying round and a second round to determine a shortlist, followed by the winner announcements during Airwards’ Winners Week in May.

“It’s a very proud moment to announce the return of Airwards. We were bowled over by the industry response in our first year, and our ambition for this year’s awards is to top last year,” Richard Nichols, Airwards founder, said.

“We want to find and champion more incredible best practice drone work, and shout about it louder, ultimately demonstrating to the general public how life’s better with drones. We hope the additional categories, greater number of international judges and streamlined entry process will help us do just that for Airwards Year Two.”