After a year of anticipation, the first part of Nigel Latta’s documentary “On Thin Ice” has been shown on TVOne.  (It is now available on TV On Demand for New Zealand viewers at

During the 2014 K020 Antarctic expedition, Professor John Brooks took two AUT UAVs (the original Hawk and a newly purchased Swampfox, and two ground control stations) to Scott Base.  After the Antarctic Skills Training course, John and the two UAV systems were flown by Squirrel helicopter ZK-IDE to the Taylor Dry Valley.  The first flights were reported earlier in this blog.

After John and the K020 team had been in the Taylor Valley for about a week, a TV3 news crew arrived to make a short clip about the expedition, which included a very short segment on flying the Fox UAV.  This was shown on TV3 news as part of a series reports on Antarctic research.

A couple of days later, Nigel Latta arrived with a small film crew.  They were making a documentary about research in this harsh climate.  The crew spent a whole day filming with the K020 researchers and also filmed in Scott Base and visited several of the research outposts on the continent.

Clearly, Nigel and his team were very impressed with the Fox UAV and its potential for application as a research tool.  The UAV segment lasted for around ten minutes and was narrated by Nigel in his amusing, unscripted style, which infuses the viewer with his enthusiasm for science.  His final comment was that “This is how a schoolboy would conduct research - with a model aeroplane and a big rubber band”.  While not entirely accurate, this comment did reflect his excitement about the technique.

In the few days since the broadcast, John has received much positive feedback on AUT’s use of UAVs in environmental research.