Dan Thisdell

editor, writer, journalist

United Kingdom

I have had the good fortune to write about spaceflight and aviation, and related technologies like AI, cybersecurity and drones, always with a focus on management, strategy and company financials. Most recently I worked for the European Space Agency as space transportation editor, from home in the UK and their technology centre in the Netherlands.

Until September 2020 I was features editor at Flight International and flightglobal.com. I'm also an old hand at print, so know about stuff like flatplans, production, magazine redesigns, recruiting staff and managing budgets.

Before aerospace, my beats included automotive, cruise and shipping, cycling...and private banking, which taught me to never underestimate the power of finance.

Independently, I am working on a family memoir about the Korean War and my first novel.

FINN - The Aviation Industry Hub | FINN
AI 'will boost aviation safety'

While the late-2023 release of the question-answering, essay-writing, text-generating robot known as ChatGPT may have brought sudden and widespread awareness of the disruptive potential of so-called artificial intelligence, it should come as no surprise that government and industry have been grappling for years with the implications of AI technology.

Flight International
Hug a hacker

Aviation's stance on cybersecurity invites disaster

Is Mars a waste of money?

Sending a car-sized rover and drone to the Red Planet is technological triumph, but critics doubt value for money. Do they have a point?

Flight International
Warrior Ethos

Leading article, op-ed

Flight International
Aviation and cybersecurity

Digital technology has brought huge gains to aviation – and left a fragmented, interconnected industry vulnerable to hackers

The Right Stuff: Top ten firsts in human spaceflight

Got any special plans for Sunday? 12 April might not rank up there with the really big holidays like Christmas, Easter and Black Friday, but all the same you could take a lead from our Russian readers and tip a glass to Yuri Gagarin - on Cosmonautics Day, celebrated since 1962 to mark the first human spaceflight a year earlier.

FINN - The Aviation Industry Hub | FINN
ESA-UK alliance rocketing ahead

In the space business, 2024 promises to be a milestone year for the United Kingdom, with the first-ever orbital launch from the country.

Unforgiving void: Spaceflight tragedies remembered

A sobering week in spaceflight saw the first in-flight fatality in a commercial space programme, as Virgin Galactic lost a test pilot with the breakup of its SpaceShipTwo over the Nevada desert, along with a spectacular but non-fatal launch failure of an uncrewed International Space Station resupply mission.

Skyrora: boldly go, in careful steps

Edinburgh-based start-up helping launch Scotland's space industry Whoever said space is the final frontier had a great feel for drama and a view to the cosmos, but perhaps didn't see as far out as the 21st Century.

Flight International
Taking charge

Today’s attempts to fly on battery power rely on the same Lithium-ion technology that powers cell phones. To really get off the ground, aviation needs a new kind of energy storage technology

Flight International
ESA's Moon man looks beyond the Space Station

When Jan Woerner took his seat at European Space Agency headquarters in Paris for his first-ever January press conference as director general, the former head of Germany's DLR aerospace agency had plenty of good news to talk about.

Flight International, flightglobal.com
Precision delivery

Europe's light launcher, Vega: Earth observation on target

Flight International
Tim Peake displays the 'Right Stuff' for astronauts in 2015

When Tim Peake blasts off for the International Space Station on 15 December, the first British astronaut since Helen Sharman in 1991 will be flying more flags than just the Union Jack. Aviators of all nations will see, roaring to orbit, affirmation of their very own version of the "Right Stuff".

Flight International, Farnborough air show 2014
UKSA's bold vision is to be the most modern space agency

When Tim Peake dons his spacesuit and climbs aboard a Soyuz rocket in November 2015, it will not be just another expedition to the International Space Station - at least from the perspective of observers in the UK

Flight International, flightglobal.com
UK 'punches above its weight' in space

For anybody with a longish memory it may seem an odd thing to say, but spaceflight is a high-profile affair in the UK. On the shoulder of astronaut Tim Peake's blue European Space Agency jumpsuit is a Union Jack, prominent as the former Apache helicopter pilot tours the country to talk about his six-month International Space Station mission, which ended with a return to Earth - and a big, smiling thumbs-up - in June.

ANALYSIS: Fast track beckons for Galileo navigation system

After a decade lost to false starts and budget wrangling, and a partial launch failure, Europe's bid to have its own satellite navigation system received a huge boost from what appears to be a perfect mission to orbit the seventh and eighth spacecraft in what will eventually be a 30-unit constellation.

UK aerospace ponders Brexit unknowns

While politicians, citizens and business people digest the shock of the UK's 23 June referendum vote to leave the EU, one word crops up repeatedly in any attempt to anticipate the implications: uncertainty. Registration gives you instant access to FlightGlobal's news, in-depth analysis, insight and opinion from our global team of experts.

Flight International
Electric Channel crossing no mere publicity stunt

When Airbus's e-Fan demonstrator made the first-ever battery-powered crossing of the English Channel from Lydd to Calais on 10 July, the well-trailed 40nm (74km), 37min flight made headlines as far afield as the USA and Australia, not to mention England and France. But the exercise was far more than a barnstorming publicity stunt.

Flight International
ANALYSIS: Record-setting Solar Impulse is off to a strong start

As an aviation record-setting machine, Solar Impulse 2 is off to a good start. Following a relatively short first leg of its round-the-world adventure - 400km (249 miles) from Abu Dhabi to Muscat, Oman in just over 13hr, including a long holding pattern - stage 2 covered 1,468km in 13hr20min across the Arabian Sea to Ahmedabad in India, claiming the solar-powered world straight distance record for manned flight between pre-declared waypoints.

ANALYSIS: Are reusable rockets a dream ticket to space?

Imagine boarding your flight, flying to your destination and watching from the arrivals lounge as what was a brand-new aircraft is towed away and pushed into the sea. For the return journey, you board another brand-new aircraft; it, too, is dumped after landing. Now, imagine how much your ticket costs.

Ariane 6 gets finance boost to 2016 design review

Europe's bid to retain independent, cost-competitive access to space in a launch market disrupted by US start-up SpaceX has been given solid financial momentum with formal contracts to develop the heavyweight Ariane 6 and light Vega C rockets.

Airbus light aircraft initiative blazes trail to electric future

Airbus is gearing up to commercialise a light aircraft project with a hybrid-electric propulsion system, as a blueprint for an eventual move into the 90-seat regional transport market. By slashing noise and emissions, Airbus believes a practical electric fan propulsion system will eventually open opportunities for regional routes currently closed owing to night flight bans - and give it a way into a market largely dominated by Bombardier and Embraer.

Flight International
Enders' Airbus coup

EADS boss Tom Enders has made a master stroke in renaming the company after its most successful brand

Flight International
EADS and the euro crisis

Airbus faces a commercial storm as Europe struggles to save the single currency

Tim Peake displays the 'Right Stuff' for astronauts in 2015

When Tim Peake blasts off for the International Space Station on 15 December, the first British astronaut since Helen Sharman in 1991 will be flying more flags than just the Union Jack. Aviators of all nations will see, roaring to orbit, affirmation of their very own version of the "Right Stuff".