Karl Drage – Founder
Living under the runway 12 approach for Alconbury, the regular departure track for Upper Heyford, and in an area witnessing literally dozens of low level flights a day, it’s no surprise that Karl became totally smitten with aviation.
Karl joined the Air Training Corps when aged 13 and was fortunate enough to get air experience flights in Chipmunks, a Nimrod and a Hercules, plus powered-glider flying in the Grob Vigilant.
It wasn’t until September 2004 that Karl bought his first DSLR camera, a Canon EOS 300D, and it was this that rekindled his interest in all things aviation. Prior to this he’d been away from the hobby for around five years.
Since making his return he’s had the opportunity to fly in Gazelle, Merlin, UH-60 Blackhawk & EC145 helicopters and Cirrus SR20 & 22, E-3D, Extra 300, KC-10 & KC-135 aircraft. He has undertaken many air-to-air photo sorties including with the United States Air Force, the Swift Aerobatic Display Team over London Docklands, DC-3 Dakota ‘Drag-‘em-Oot’, Beech Staggerwing ‘The Red Rockette’, and was lucky enough to fly with The Baltic Bees in formation with The Turkish Stars over Dubai and Abu Dhabi .
Karl is always on the lookout for that different, special shot, and it’s this passion that has taken him to eleven different countries so far, with hopes of adding to that tally in the coming years. While airshows offer nice photographic opportunities when the sun’s shining, it’s operational shooting which is Karl’s main area of interest.
His photographic work has graced the pages of most of the main aviation periodicals as well as the national press. To date Karl has a number of cover shots to his name, while the Royal Air Force has made use of a number of images, primarily in promotional materials, as have the United States Air Force, QinetiQ, Everts Air Cargo and Air Contractors, amongst others.
In 2007, Karl developed a strong relationship with No 6 Squadron RAF, the Flying Canopeners, and was invited by the then OC6, Wg Cdr John Sullivan, to attend all of the significant moments in the (temporary) winding up of the Squadron and the subsequent retirement of the Jaguar aircraft from service with the RAF. Karl was heavily involved with the compilation of the book which was produced by Wg Cdr Sullivan to mark these events, Big Cat Diary.
Karl was involved with Cottesmore Aviation Group until September 2007 when he decided it was time to move on. He’d been one of the founder members. Prior to setting up GAR he held a staff member position on the UK Airshow Review website and produced several featured articles for that organisation.
In October, Karl handed over the editorial reins of the GAR website to Gareth Stringer so that he could focus his attentions on Global Aviation Magazine.
Today Karl’s photographic equipment comprises two Canon EOS-50D bodies teamed up with Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 and Canon 10-22mm, 24-105mm and 400mm f5.6 lenses.
Karl’s most recent Flickr uploads: