Victoria Atherton, Derbyshire Police’s first female drone pilot, has said she wants to inspire others and fight crime.
She was recently deployed to the Whaley Bridge dam incident, which following severe damage last week, led to around 1,500 residents being evacuated.
PC Atherton and the UAV team used a range of DJI drones to provide close-up images of the dam and to patrol the exclusion zone to monitor people’s homes, amid reports of burglaries in the area.
Speaking to Heliguy, the firm which trained Atherton, she said that when she’s not working to fight crime, she is keen to use her story to inspire others.
She commented: “Personally, I think the best way to encourage women to get involved is to support each other. The future of aviation appears to be heading in the direction of unmanned aircraft and it’s important that men and women are equally represented in this field.”
As the Heliguy report describes and in her own words, Atherton’s relationship with aviation has been ‘turbulent’ and led to her successfully fighting a gender discrimination case against a fixed-wing flying school along the way.
She added: “As flying drones is in its infancy, it’s important that women take advantage of the opportunities available in order to avoid a gender gap in the future. For me, it certainly feels like an achievement to be labelled as the first female drone pilot in the Derbyshire Constabulary, however, I think it’s more important to ensure that I am not the last.”