2. A Drink with Walt: Nick Wharmby
In my second podcast episode, I have a drink with Britain's finest helicopter test pilot about his experiences over two decades of flying that legendary aircraft – the Apache.
WHEN we think of iconic aircraft, we tend to think of machines such as the Spitfire and the Hurricane.
Yeah, yeah. Whatever.
Because for my money, the Apache attack helicopter is right up there.
Unlike those old WW2 aircraft, the Apache has been around for ages and it’s STILL going strong – very strong indeed. It’s been around for forty years, has served in numerous wars, and is – in all its beautiful ugliness – a design classic.
Imagine if Spitfires served in the Second World War AND the Falklands, and you begin to get my point.
There is literally nobody better in the world to talk about the Apache than my friend Nick Wharmby, because he has flown this aircraft for over twenty years.
His CV is ludicrously impressive.
He is – so he tells me – an Experimental Class 1 test pilot. He’s also an A1 Central Flying School helicopter instructor. He’s a weapons instructor and an air combat tactic instructor. And (yawn) he’s an instrument rating examiner, a European Aviation Safety Agency instructor and examiner, and flew the Apache on and off from 1998 to 2019, in, amongst other roles, as the UK Ministry of Defence project test pilot. He not only taught people how to fly the Apache, but he also taught the people who teach the people how to fly the Apache. And he did a lot of this while he was a civilian. And he’s got an MBE.