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Rescue pilot lands PacPrint keynote address

Thursday, 02 March 2017
By Company press release

Jerry Grayson (© Nancy Johnson Photography)

Rescue pilot, aerial film maker (Black Hawk Down, A View to a Kill) and drone specialist Jerry Grayson is an ordinary man who has had an extraordinary career. He’ll be presenting the keynote address on PacPrint’s final day.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Jerry Grayson, apart from the entertaining and frequently amusing stories he can tell, is the way he has been able to adapt to challenge and change, harnessing the best of his skills and experience to build new successes on the foundations of the old.

At just 17, Jerry was the youngest helicopter pilot in the British Royal Navy. Over the next eight years, he clocked up more than 2500 hours of flying time and helped save more than 70 lives on 120 rescue missions – an achievement which saw him become the most decorated peacetime naval pilot in history by the age of 25.

After returning to civilian life, Jerry moved into the world of film, using his unique talents, experience and passion to pioneer a radically different way of capturing aerial footage.

For nearly 30 years, Jerry was the ‘go-to guy’ for anyone who needed seriously good – and sometimes near-impossible – professional aerial footage. His list of credits stretches from Black Hawk Down and James Bond’s A View to a Kill, to the Athens Olympics and Soccer World Cup, and includes award-winning footage of some of the world’s most momentous events – the landing of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, the New Orleans floods and Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires.

Then, in 2015, the advent of drone technology saw the role of helicopters – and Jerry’s job – virtually disappear overnight. “I used to think that disruption was a bit of a messy time when you’d decided to change the company name or introduce a new product or service,” Jerry admits candidly. “It wasn’t until the arrival of the drones that I really understood, when my three decades of work and experience vanished into thin air.

“At that point, you really only have one decision – do you fight it, or embrace it? We decided to embrace it, and discovered that there are enormous positives from facing disruption head on and looking for ways in which you can take your experience and skills, and reframe it to take advantage of new opportunities.”

Today, Jerry runs Drone Masterclasses for photographers, film makers and search and rescue personnel from the central Victorian property which is now his international base. He has also launched a complimentary career as an author and public speaker. His first book, Rescue Pilot: Cheating the Sea – written at the urging of family and friends who had been entertained by his stories for years – was released in 2015. The second instalment, Film Pilot – From James Bond to Hurricane Katrina, hit bookshop shelves just prior to PacPrint in March.

At the show, Jerry will share some of the exciting and highly entertaining stories from his career, and tackle the subjects of disruption, leadership and decision making.

“What amazed me when I left the Navy, and has continued to surprise me since, is that many businesses fail to implement basic practices like good communication, proper training and preparation, and robust processes and procedures, and they do so to their detriment,” Jerry says.

“One of the key things I’ve realised over the years is the universal importance of certain fundamentals and how they can be applied with equal success to virtually any team, in any business, even in the most disruptive and challenging of times.

“A leader’s role is to put those things in place and make sound decisions even, and especially, when they are critical and must be made under pressure. Every decision is a step on a pathway, and while the effect may not be felt immediately, even the smallest step in the right direction today can have an enormous impact for good in the future. In short, effective leadership enables ordinary people to achieve extraordinary things.”

Jerry Grayson will present the final keynote address at PacPrint on Friday 26 May from 11am – 12.30pm. The session is open to all and completely free of charge to all registered PacPrint visitors.

PacPrint 2017 will run from 23-26 May at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre. Register online today or find out more at





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