The Reed Aircraft Company
I am the third generation of a proud aviation family of eight pilots. Believing in our vision, I am driven by pure passion, sentiment and the desire to continue the legacy of our two families.
I am the third generation of a proud aviation family of eight pilots. My grandfather flew P51 Mustangs and Spitfires before starting our families crop dusting business, J.H.Rautenbach & Sons in 1959. My fondest memories growing up are waking up before sunrise and accompanying Dad as he performed an aerial ballet over farmers crops a few feet above the ground while dodging powerlines. Dad would often let me sit on his lap and fly as we ferried from farm to farm. If I wasn’t out spraying, the hangar was my second home, tinkering with Dad as he repaired the spray equipment or learning from him as he completely rebuilt a crop sprayer every off season, I can still smell the chemicals as if it were yesterday.
It was also during this time that my Grandfather’s brother-in-arms, Prof. Reed would frequently make use of the unrestricted airspace at the local airfield to develop and test fly various aircraft that he had designed. Our two families have collaborated on a number of innovative aviation projects over the past six decades. With my eyes fixated on a scale model of a UAV, I can still picture Prof. Reed standing at his drawing board using French curves and referencing his handwritten notes as he designed his second aerobatic aircraft.
I am fortunate thus far to have experienced a diverse aviation career spanning 23 years from aircraft mechanic to career pilot. After completing an apprenticeship, my first flying job entailed operating under extreme conditions coordinating air and ground crew while suppressing forest fires. I then spent five years as a contract pilot for the United Nations, operating in war zones and remote corners of the globe. To tick the box, I joined our National Flag carrier until I decided to enter the world of corporate flying, operating the Bombardier Global 6000 and now the Gulfstream G650.
With a passion for everything aviation related, a thirst for continuous learning, new challenges and adventure, I have recently been nominated assignee to all of Prof. Reed’s designs. It is my honour and privilege to be entrusted to further develop this Unmanned Aircraft System with the aim to commercialise it into a viable and successful business. Believing in the vision, I am driven by pure passion, sentiment and the desire to continue the legacy of our two families.
For a number of reasons, the United Kingdom is our preferred location to establish and grow our business. This decision was confirmed after my first meeting with Richard who was immediately on the same page and showed great enthusiasm toward our business. Richard has been available to answer my many questions and I know that this partnership will extend beyond the meeting room.