Author(s): Jerry Grayson
When Jerry Grayson left the Royal Navy's Search and Rescue helicopter fleet aged 25, he was the most decorated peacetime naval pilot in history. In terms of excitement, however, civilian life lacked spice - especially when the only real demand for helicopter pilots was as glorified chauffeurs for the very wealthy. Jerry had a passion for the movies and carved his way into a new career. Setting out to develop radically different ways of capturing dramatic aerial footage, Jerry pushed his helicopter to guarantee the most exciting, innovative and sometimes impossible shots that top film directors demanded. Over the past 35 years Jerry has become the go-to man for aerial filmmaking, shooting everything from music videos, car commercials and nature documentaries to the Athens Olympic Games and the landing of the Space Shuttle Atlantis. But it is in Hollywood that Jerry has really made his mark. He was barely out of his 20s when he worked on the airborne finale to the James Bond film A View to a Kill, and that helped cement his reputation for the decades since. Film Pilot is full of entertaining behind-the-scenes stories (some that almost ended in disaster for Jerry and an A-list actor or two...) and revelatory insights into just how this invisible sector of the film business operates. We all take aerial footage for granted, without appreciating the lengths gone, and danger endured, to shoot it. This is perhaps never more apparent than when Jerry's skills are called upon to gather more important footage - the burning oilfields of Kuwait following the first Gulf War, and flooded New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
After a military career that ended with him winning a medal for gallantry, helicopter pilot Jerry Grayson found civilian life lacked spice - until he found a way into the film industry. Shooting aerial footage and flying stunts, this was a glamorous world that turned out to be just as exciting as his previous career, but for completely different reasons.
Jerry Grayson served in the Royal Navy for 8 years, in the course of which he was presented with the Air Force Cross by the Queen for outstanding gallantry in search and rescue. He subsequently worked in the film industry for 35 years, both behind the camera shooting unique aerial footage, and on screen, when the likes of Ridley Scott needed a helicopter pilot with military training to take part in the crash sequence in Black Hawk Down. He is now based in Australia.