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The true story of one man's determination to master the world's deadliest helicopter and of a split-second decision that changed the face of modern warfare. May 2006. Pilot Ed Macy arrives in Afghanistan with a contingent of the Apache AH Mk1. It's the first operational tour for the deadly machines and confidence in the cripplingly expensive attack helicopter is low. It doesn't help that for their first month 'in action', Ed and his mates see little more than the back-end of a Chiok. But when the men of 3 Para get pinned down during Op Mutay, reservations about the fearsome new attack helicopters are thrown out the window. In the blistering firefight that follows, Ed unleashes the first ever Hellfire missile in combat and, with one squeeze of the trigger, changes the war in Afghanistan forever. What had been rumoured as a GBP4.2 billion mistake quickly becomes the British Army's greatest asset, as the awe-inspiring Apache is dramatically redirected to fight the enemy head-on. In this gripping account of war on the ground and in the skies above the dusty wastes of Helmand, Ed recounts the intense months that followed: the steep learning curve, the relentless missions, the evolving enemy and the changing Rules of Engagement. As he comes to grip with the Apache, his early career as a paratrooper stands him in good stead, as does his operational baptism as a pilot. Both shaped his ability to fly, fight and survive during that fateful first Afghanistan tour against a cunning and ruthless enemy. Ed will need every ounce of willpower and skill to succeed over the long, hot Helmand summer, as he and his colleagues find themselves on trial for their lives and for the reputation of a machine on which the British government has staked a fortune. The crucible of fire that awaited them would cement the fate of man and machine forever.
Ed Macy left the British Army in January 2008, after twenty-three years' service. He had amassed a total of 3,930 helicopter flying hours, 645 of them inside an Apache. Ed was awarded the Military Cross for his courage during the Jugroom Fort rescue in Helmand Province, Afghanistan - one of the first ever in Army Air Corps' history.