Host and producer of hit series The Aviators, Anthony Nalli, on the upcoming season 3 and more
A trained paramedic, Anthony Nalli decided to finally follow his dream to become a pilot at 35. Close to a decade later, after stints as a columnist and aviation collision avoidance counselor, Nalli combined his favourite hobbies — and produced a TV show on flying. From meeting some of aviation’s greats, to flying without an engine (on a glider aircraft), Nalli and his team of experts and enthusiasts believe in cutting the drama and keeping the magic of flying alive. We get between the wings and uncover the highlights:
From a paramedic to TV host.
A paramedic is something that I wanted to be since I was a child. And a pilot is something I wanted to be since I was a child. And I really, really like television. So, I managed to turn one into the other — combining with another.
Learning to fly at 35.
When I was in grade school, I went to a guidance counselor for careers options, and they went, ‘Oh, Anthony. You’re far too short to be an airline pilot.’ The funny thing is there are no height requirements and my guidance counselor was wrong. Learning to fly is an expensive thing, so it was only when I was 35 that I finally went for it.
The biggest challenge of filming while in flight.
The aviation. Even weather issues that are not necessarily dangerous for flying — like wind — can make it rather challenging to film.
The Aviators USP.
We allow it to be fascinating. We don’t try and add drama where it doesn’t exist. We let stories tell themselves naturally.
Season 3 highlights.
There were situations where we found ourselves in real-life danger. We want to show people what’s really dangerous, and what can happen in certain tricky situations — that’s called our ‘guardian angel’ segment. This season, we’re flying an F-16 with an excellent military jet team from the United States Air Force. That is truly a once in a lifetime experience.
The word ‘awesome’ doesn’t begin to describe it. The power that these things have is mind-numbing. The remarkable part is that one person controls something so powerful and is able to with ease.
Vince Neil’s take off.
That was a real honour and thrill for me. We get to see Vince Neil from Mötley Crüe in a way that I don’t think anyone in history has ever seen him. If you can just imagine a little schoolboy giving an apple to his teacher in admiration, and just how bashful and timid that little schoolboy with the apple would be, that is what you are going to see.
Nalli’s take 6
Favourite episode: Season three, episode one. It’s when Curtis is learning to fly a P-6 the same way they did in World War II.
Most inspiring pilot: Sean Tucker – such an energetic, charismatic, motivating person that I wish we could pour him in a bottle and drink him. The hardest aircraft to fly: The Tiger Moth. It’s like standing on a beach ball. The most nerve-wracking flight: The one where we picked up ice. If we were foolish for a few more minutes, it could have been a very bad day. Favorite personal rides: The Goodyear Blimp (air); Harley Davidson (land); The Queen Mary (sea). The most outstanding war battle account: The Hiroshima flights in the B-29.
The Aviators Season 3 premieres on March 7 on Discovery Turbo at 8 pm.