For more than a decade, Charles Vidal from the NRC's Aerospace Research Centre has spent countless hours volunteering as the chair and organizer of the annual student Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) competition. To commemorate his dedication to this cause, Charles was selected by Unmanned Systems Canada (USC) as the recipient of the 2020 Pip Rudkin Individual Achievement Award.
His extraordinary contribution to the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) sector as an engineer, researcher and long‑standing leader has not gone unnoticed. The Pip Rudkin Individual Achievement Award is given to an individual who dedicates their time to making significant contributions to the association and industry, as well as helps shape Canada's unmanned and remotely piloted vehicle systems landscape, as did the award's namesake.
Charles has been a leader in the (UAS) field since 2004, when he began his journey by founding the highly successful UAS student competition team VAMudeS at the University of Sherbrooke. There, he spent his 4 years working towards his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering specializing in aeronautics, while simultaneously leading VAMudeS to victory in competitions around the world.
From there, Charles has worked for several engineering and aeronautics industry leaders from Pratt & Whitney to Bell Helicopter to ING Robotic Aviation. Early in his career, Charles also held the responsibility of a highly regarded ScanEagle UAS site lead, operator and maintainer in Afghanistan. He joined the NRC in August 2016, and is the acting Integrated Aerial Mobility (IAM) program lead for the Aerospace Research Centre. With his wide range of industry experience and the knowledge acquired from working with both high‑intensity military operations and the latest operations in the civil sector, Charles Vidal has been an asset to the industry and to the NRC.