Episode 6 – Aerial Photographer



In today’s episode we talk to John Seville. John has had an interesting aviation career including air taxi pilot, aerial photography and even ‘Eye in the Sky’ for Piccadilly Radio in Manchester.

Listen to Episode 6

Flying Podcast is talking to John Seville. John flies aerial photographers from City Airport Manchester (Barton) to pretty much anywhere in the UK in his Cessna 172.
Although there is always a demand for his service, John is obviously governed by the weather. It may be sunny but often this sunny weather comes with haze; the aerial photographers worst nightmare.

John flies from the right seat, allowing the aerial photographer to sit on the left hand side of the aircraft.
Aerial photographers have varying requirements and preferences when it comes to the weather. Soem like no cloud at all whereas others like some cloud or even complete overcast so John has to know his customers.
The sorts of projects he gets involved in include: factories, buildings, development sites, boundary disputes, archaeology and even a funeral procession on one occassion.
Aerial photography often takes place within controlled airspace but John says he doesn’t have many issues with them as long as he lets them know what he’s up to before he gets airborne.
To help with the cost effectiveness of the aerial photography, John tries to fit as many sites into each flight. This means that he can end up flying for much of the day and covering 15 or 16 photographic sites.

One of the biggest costs for the operation is the cost of Avgas which currently comes out at over £8.50 per gallon!
John did his CPL at Oxford in 1978 followed by his Instrument Rating.
His first job was as an air taxi pilot for Keen Air in Liverpool followed by Grosvenor Aviation at Manchester.
John dabbled in aerial photography for a few years, going into it full time in 1985.
In 1986 he was approached by the local radio station to do the ‘Eye in the Sky’ flights around the city reporting on traffic conditions.
This work for Piccadilly Key 103 lasted for nearly 7 years.
John now concentrates on the aerial photography full time.

5 thoughts on “Episode 6 – Aerial Photographer

  1. Is this the John Seville of 57 Sqn fame? – I`d really love to know! Roy Swann (DA42 G-ELSE).

  2. Hi Roy. Send me an email and I’ll forward your contact details on to John. Cheers Steve

  3. Hi Steve, thanks for your response. I found Flying Podcast almost by accident recently – I must say it`s a very interesting and informative website. I read about John`s exploits on PPRuNe about 18 months ago and the whole saga made an indelible impression on me, partly because I too was in the RAF at that time, went to Melksham, served on Canberra squadrons, was stationed at Upwood etc. – but mainly because of the brilliant way that the story was related by `ColinB`. For anyone who was in the `mob` at that time it just rang so true it was like suddenly being transported back in time by 50 years and the last line of it made me all misty-eyed (silly old sod). Anyway, I`d like to meet John one day, if I ever get to Barton. (My aeroplane`s at Bournemouth, so I tend to go to France & Spain etc. rather than the Frozen North, but you never know). Kind Regards,
    Roy Swann.

  4. Hi,

    I’m looking to commission John for aerial photography, can you supply contact details please. Tried Barton direct but said they had no details for him

Comments are closed.