Nigel Macknight

Team Founder

Catalyst at the start of the Quicksilver World Water Speed Record Challenge , Nigel Macknight is the craft’s driver. He has devoted almost all of his professional life to conveying his enthusiasm for engineering to a wide audience, having authored over 700 magazine articles and ten books with subjects ranging from the Space Shuttle to Formula 1 racing cars and the Tomahawk cruise missile. He has also participated in many TV and radio broadcasts, and is an accomplished public-speaker with over 200 engagements undertaken to date, both here in the UK and overseas.

     Born in Corbridge, Northumberland, Nigel became a professional writer at the age of 21. Tellingly, his first article to appear in print was Speed Kings, an account of the record-breaking exploits of Sir Malcolm and Donald Campbell with their legendary Bluebird cars and boats.

     Nigel began his career writing for popular children’s magazines such as Look & Learn and the legendary Eagle comic. It was in these publications that he developed a niche writing about technical subjects in a style entertaining and accessible to the wider public. He also interviewed many stars of film, TV and sport during this time, ranging from movie star Jeff Bridges to motorcycle racing legends Mike Hailwood and Barry Sheene.

     Later, Nigel’s career expanded into a broader role in magazine and book production, and then publishing. In 1984, he wrote and published what became the definitive book on NASA’s Space Shuttle. This was a best-seller, with international sales exceeding 50,000 copies. From this sprang Spaceflight News, a popular monthly
magazine which Nigel founded in 1985, and edited and published until 1991.

     Spaceflight News enabled Nigel to gain wider management and
marketing skills, as a team of correspondents and production personnel were involved, and a range of spin-off products were developed under the SFN brand.

     Not content with an observer’s role, he also involved himself in many of his subjects, competing in kart racing and Formula Ford motor-racing for seven years and undertaking high-performance flights with some of the world’s top pilots, including NASA test pilot Ed Schneider and British Aerobatic Champion Iain Weston whilst he was leader of the Rothmans aerobatic team. In another account he described flying with the RAF’s Red Arrows formation display team, including a full display rehearsal seated in the lead aircraft flown by Squadron Leader John Blackwell.