Civil Aviation Authority Drone Lead Crowded Space Drones

Tuesday 30 June 2020 - Crowded Space Drones

Press Release (external)

Belfast, UK

Andrew Hamilton, Civil Aviation Authority Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) lead is to leave the CAA to become Director of Operations at leading drone company Crowded Space Drones.

Andrew has been involved in drones for nearly 10 years and whilst an Inspector with Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, founding the first ever 24 hour UK Police Drone Unit which now has over 50 Police Officers trained as pilots. 

Andrew Hamilton Civil aviation authority crowded space drones

Following this, Andrew joined the Civil Aviation Authority, transforming their systems and processes to the benefit of the wider drone industry. 

Under his leadership at the Civil Aviation Authority, Andrew has overseen the approval of drone delivery programs, such as the delivery of medical equipment to the Isle of Wight to assist with the Coronavirus response. He also assisted in the roll out of Drone & Model Aircraft Registration and Education Scheme (DMARES) and significant improvements to the process of applying and renewing commercial drone permissions. 

Crowded Space Drones are a specialist drone services company who hold a unique special permission from the Civil Aviation Authority to safely fly as close as five metres from uncontrolled persons and crowds with clients includes Live Nation, BBC Events, Festival Republic, AEG, Wimbledon, Arsenal FC, The Jockey Club, Vision Nine Events, Liverpool City Council and Alexandra Palace. Their work at events includes supporting Crowd Management, Public Safety and Counter Terrorism at events across the United Kingdom and around the world.

Andrew McQuillan, Director of Crowded Space Drones, commented: “Our entire team is absolutely thrilled to have Andrew Hamilton join us to lead our flight operations, there is simply no one in the United Kingdom who has more knowledge, experience and know how in all aspects of the drone industry. This will be a massive benefit to our clients and also help us ensure we are the safest drone operator.”

Andrew Hamilton explained future UK drone regulation further: “Having seen some of Crowded Space Drones work for events such as Wimbledon, The Grand National, Download Festival, Creamfields and Reading Festival, I knew that this was an exciting opportunity to join a highly respected team who help event organisers create stunning visuals above their events and keep crowds safe.


Notes to Editors:
1. Image available at
2. Crowded Space Drones was established in November 2015 by Andrew McQuillan following his experience in stopping illegal drones on the sets of HBO Game of Thrones & Disney’s Star Wars. 
3. The company is based in Belfast, Northern Ireland with an operational office in Central London
4. Andrew Hamilton will hold the role of Director of Operations, based at their Belfast Head Office.
5. Andrew Hamilton & Andrew McQuillan are both available for interviews, arranged via 07415158077
6. Company website is

Andrew Hamilton Background Information

Andrew Hamilton has had an exemplary 30 year career in the Police force working for 16 years in the Metropolitan Police and then finishing his 30 year policing career in Devon and Cornwall Police as a Roads Policing Inspector in November 2016. 

During his time as a roads policing inspector Andrew was an experienced senior investigating officer, managing an average of 55 fatal road traffic collisions a year. As an experienced drone operator outside of the Police, Andrew saw huge benefits in using a drone at Fatal collision scenes saving money and time instead of using the National Police Air Service. Andrew developed this role further and came back into the force in 2017 to set up the first dedicated Police drone unit in Devon and Cornwall Police & Dorset Police where drones were integrated into everyday police force being used at crime scenes, public order events and contingency planning. This attracted huge National and local media attention and Andrew gave several interviews with Sky News, ITV and BBC explaining the journey.

In May 2018 after setting up the now successful drone unit Andrew left to work as the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Sector lead at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) where he transformed the unit, setting up new policies and procedures as well as the audit and oversight procedure. Andrew also assisted in the roll out of the Drone & Model Aircraft Registration and Education Scheme (DMARES) which became law in November 2019. 

Andrew has developed a huge amount of knowledge in the regulation of UAS whilst working at the CAA as well as his incredible expertise and knowledge in the Police use of drones. Andrew has also investigated numerous drone offences both within the Police and the CAA.

The Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill is currently going through parliament before it is enshrined in law. It is anticipated that this Bill will come into force in the Summer of 2020. This Bill will bring in some major new powers for the Police in dealing with drone offences. Andrew is very much up to speed with this bill and has liaised with the Home Office and DfT during its production.