“If it looks like I’m having fun doing it, it’s ’cause I am,” says retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel Art Nalls. He’s talking about flying his Sea Harrier, the only privately owned and privately flown Harrier in the world. Nalls is the subject of a new series produced by AARP Studios, called (appropriately) Badass Pilot. The five-episode series recently debuted on AARP’s YouTube channel; each episode will run approximately 8 minutes. Watch episode one above.
The topic is a natural for AARP: “In 2015, we were introduced to Art Nalls, his love of aviation and his determined pursuit of a Sea Harrier,” says Jeffrey Eagle, vice president of AARP Studios. “It was a story too visual and interesting to pass up.”
In the series, Nalls remembers traveling to England a decade ago to check out the Harrier. “Man, if we can get this thing to fly, this is a game-changer in the airshow business,” he says. “[And] if I can’t, I’ve got myself a very expensive paperweight.” Fortunately, everything worked out. “We wrote a one-page contract in Sharpie [pen], because we only had one piece of paper,” Nalls recalls in the video. Over the course of five episodes, Nalls and his team transport the aircraft—which is in 5,000 pieces—back to the United States, and race to get the Harrier ready for the upcoming airshow season.
Aviation is a popular topic for AARP members: “Our videos about Art are AARP’s most watched videos to date,” says Eagle. AARP is releasing one new episode each week; episode two was released earlier today.