As a Royal Navy SAR pilot Jerry Grayson was involved in a number of high profile rescue missions along with the crews of the Wessex helicopters he piloted. He has written a book – Rescue Pilot – that captures many of the stories of this part of his career.
Jerry decided early on in life that he was going to fly. He ended up at a very young age in the Royal Navy flying Sea Kings, Whirlwinds and Wessex machines. In this interview we cover several of the tales from his Navy career including his time upon the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal.
This of course only gets as a few years into Jerry’s career. After leaving the Navy, Jerry started a commercial helicopter company which saw him involved in a wide range of operations and flying a variety of helicopters.
One incident that we spend a little time going into depth on is a tailrotor driveshaft failure that Jerry experienced in an Augusta 109. It’s our hope that listeners might be able to draw in some small way from this experience should they ever find themselves unlucky enough to be in a similar situation.
Jerry has since gone on to significant success and renown as a helicopter film pilot with contracts on several high profile films (including Blackhawk Down with past guest Dennis Kenyon), Formula 1, Soccer World Cup, Olympics, Commonwealth Games and even written, directed and flown for an IMAX film.
There is a lot more to Jerry’s career and achievements so you’ll just have to listen to find out.
In this week’s episode:
00:52 Rescue Pilot – book by Jerry Grayson
02:40 Book background and media appearances
07:06 BBC Fast Net Yacht Race reunion radio show
09:38 Finding old Whirlwind/Wessex airframes – firefighting training props, paintball field targets
11:50 Air Force Cross – highest award for gallantry in the air (UK) – Greek Medal of Honour
15:47 Meeting the Queen
16:40 Selection board for Royal Navy at 16
18:30 Flying scholarship to civil PPL school and running errands for Micky Lauder, race driver
19:55 British aircraft carrier Ark Royal
20:50 PlaneGuard role to pick up fixed wing aircraft ditching off carriers
22:45 Seaking stranded on the surface with one engine at night
26:35 Navigating overwater before GPS
30:30 Losing map out the window
32:40 Flying the Whirlwind/Wessex
37:30 Film flying and division of cockpit duties
38:50 Tail rotor failure in an Augusta 109
48:15 Airborne external inspection of tail rotor by S76
50:55 The last mile to the runway down to 60kts run on
56:10 Some advice on flying
58:50 What is next for Jerry Grayson
1:01:36 Video of Jerry talking about the Wessex helicopter and the book
1:02:00 Feedback on the show, leave a comment
Links from this week’s episode:
Episode Sponsors trainmorepilots.com
Rescue Pilot – book website
Helifilms Australia – Jerry’s Aerial Filming Company
World Helicopter Day
Jerry talks a little bit about the Wessex helicopter and rescues at sea in this promo video for his book.
Be part of the conversation and get involved in the comments section below. What questions do you have about Jerry’s interview?