The 2015 Shephard Awards

Now is the time to reflect on a whirlwind past 12 months, a year that has seen the Shephard team cover most corners of the world and rack up a few air miles in the process. We’ve all experienced some highs and some lows during this time, from private wine tastings in Paris to delayed flights.

Most Read Story

To start off proceedings let’s take a look at the highest read story on the Shephard Media website. All the journalists were on the edge of their seats in anticipation that one of their stories would win the title of most-read. In the end there was one clear winner…drum roll please…

Our editor-in-chief, Tony Skinner, walks away with the prize; his story on the unveiling of the much anticipated Airbus Helicopters H160 gained the most views this year. Tony would like to thank all the #AvGeeks who made this possible.

Best Press Trip

There have been a fair number of press trips with journalists being whisked all over the globe by companies keen to show off their latest kit. One of the most memorable was the Airbus Defence and Space pre-Paris Air Show event which was meant to see Grant Turnbull join the company on a tour of their facility in Seville. Tragically that weekend one of the test aircraft crashed and the trip was abandoned. Kudos to Airbus DS for inviting Grant back later in the year where he took a tour of the A400M final assembly line.

But Airbus DS has been pipped at the post for this award by Boeing who flew a group of European journalists across the US, covering no less than 11,000 miles in a week. Flying over the US business class on an A380 was a pretty good way to start the tour and ending the week with the Chinook assembly line was certainly a highlight. Here’s my blog on how the week went and some other high points.

La Paloma Group Photo

Best location

Defence and aerospace trade shows are held in every location you can think of and we have probably been to all of them too. From London to Paris to Dubai to Seoul and back again. But this year the best location for a trade show goes to LAAD Defence and Security held in Rio de Janeiro.

And why was it so good you ask? Well Grant was lucky enough to go to the event and gave his thoughts: ‘It was Rio and we stayed right by Copacabana beach.’

Best dining experience

We are lucky enough to be wined and dined every now and then; this year one company came up with an innovative experience for attendees – dining in the dark. You can see the thinking behind it when you consider the host company manufactures IR and night vision devices. (We do not have any pictures of this evening because, well, it was pretty dark in there.)

Worst flight

I’ve already mentioned the best flight experience, the business class A380 journey to LA, so now to turn our heads to what was a bit of a disaster. Luckily this year no one missed a flight so we don’t have to provide public humiliation to any member of the team.

However, on a return flight from Abu Dhabi the Shephard team were getting settled and waiting for their complimentary meal when the flight was made to turn around and return to the UAE. When the announcement came from the captain there was a universal sigh throughout the aircraft.

What made it an amusing disaster was that the editor, Mr Fish, had scoffed sleeping pills expecting to be on a flight for eight hours. But alas we were all made to disembark and the flight was rescheduled. As he drowsily made his way through back through the airport he swore, ranted, then sat down and fell asleep. We finally arrived in London 10+ hours after originally planned.

Worst show daily office

This year we have done our share of show daily magazines and most of the time the facilities we are provided with are adequate to get the job done. However, this year our production manager had a bit of challenge on his hands when the workspace provided looked more like an old stationery cupboard. Not wishing to mention any names but let’s just say it was a security trade show in Asia.

In terms of general press rooms we have utilised so many over the past 12 months it’s hard to keep track of which ones were where. The DSEI press room is always a good one as journos are welcomed in with offerings of bacon sarnies in the morning.


Overall we have all come to the end of 2015 relatively unscathed and with two new publications to our name.

Once Christmas is over and the hangovers have subsided we will be back on the road again for 2016. We will undoubtedly see you all there.

One comment

  • That IDEX flight was Emirates, they had to turn back because some idiot passenger decided he would be at death’s door about two hours in over Tehran. At least he did not get to use free NHS treatment if that was his plan…


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