After a military career that ended with him winning a medal for gallantry, helicopter pilot Jerry Grayson found a way into the film industry: shooting aerial footage – which turned out to be just as exciting as his previous career, but for completely different reasons.
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. But 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 and the Rolling Stones live in concert, including award-winning footage of burning Kuwaiti oilfields for Werner Herzog, the Athens Olympic Games, the landing of the Space Shuttle Atlantis and the fast-paced, action-packed James Bond movies. From his vantage point up in the air, and a career spanning three and a half decades, Jerry has seen an increase in man’s environmental impact on the planet. The oilfields on fire after the first Gulf War and the impact of Hurricane Katrina affected Jerry greatly, and he shot and directed his own IMAX movie, The Earth Wins, as a result.
With entertaining behind-the-scenes stories and revelatory insights into how this invisible sector of the industry operates, Film Pilot reveals the lengths gone to, and the dangers endured, to capture some of the most exciting and inspiring footage ever committed to film.
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 – as detailed in his first book, Rescue Pilot: Cheating the Sea. 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 Victoria, Australia.