Grove Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press


Inside the Cockpit of the World's Most Deadly Fighting Machine

by Edward Macy

“A truly amazing portrayal of the technical, the emotional, and the courageous. Macy puts the reader in the cockpit of our most lethal attack platform.” —Dick Couch, author of The Sheriff of Ramadi and Chosen Soldier

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 400
  • Publication Date May 11, 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-4478-2
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $18.00
  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Page Count 400
  • Publication Date May 12, 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-1894-3
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $25.00

About The Book

Apache is the incredible true story of Ed Macy, a decorated Apache helicopter pilot, that takes you inside the cockpit of the world’s deadliest war machine. A firsthand account of the exhilaration and ferocity of war, Apache chronicles a rescue mission involving a stranded soldier in Afghanistan in 2007.

Ed Macy had always dreamed of a career in the army, so when the British Army Air Corps launched its attack helicopter program, Ed bent every rule in the book to make sure he was the first to sign up to fly the Apache.

The Westland Apache AH Mk 1 is the deadliest, most technically advanced helicopter in the world—and the toughest to fly. Only the top 2 percent of pilots make it through the grueling eighteen-month training. In the cockpit of an Apache, hands, feet, and even eyes need to operate independently. As strong as a tank and equipped with two Rolls Royce RTM-322 engines, the helicopter is remarkably fast and nearly impossible to shoot down. And thanks to a powerful array of weapons and cameras, the Apache helicopter can spot prey from miles away—and kill the enemy with a flick of the finger.

In 2007, Ed’s Apache squadron was dispatched to Afghanistan’s notorious Helmand Province, with the mission to fight alongside and protect the men on the ground by any means necessary. And when a marine goes missing in action, Ed and his team know they are the army’s only hope of bringing him back alive. With a soldier strapped to each side of two gunships, they must land in the heart of Jugroom Fort, a Taliban stronghold, and come face-to face with hordes of their unrelenting enemy. What follows is a breathtaking rescue, unlike any the world has ever seen.

Apache is Macy’s story—an adrenalin-fueled account of one of the most daring actions of modern wartime, and a tale of courage, danger, and comradeship you won’t be able to put down.


“Puts you right in the cockpit with your finger on the trigger. A truly awesome read; and a climax that Hollywood couldn’t invent.” —Andy McNab, author of Immediate Action

“Macy is the real deal. Nobody could write that powerfully about combat, or emotionally about the men fighting with him, unless he has been at the gunship’s controls. A fantastic, totally exhilarating roller-coaster read.” —Sergeant Major Dan Mills, author of Sniper One

“A truly amazing portrayal of the technical, the emotional, and the courageous. Macy puts the reader in the cockpit of our most lethal attack platform.” —Dick Couch, author of The Sheriff of Ramadi and Chosen Soldier

Apache is a fantastic read that puts you right in the middle of the combat zone.” —Jack Coughlin, author of Shooter: The Autobiography of the Top-Ranked Marine Sniper

Apache is at its heart a ground-busting infantry tale told from an entirely new perspective. By the time these gutsy Uglies land in an occupied Taliban fort to join the ground fight, there is no doubt that attack helicopter pilots are flying grunts. What happens next is extraordinary.” —Owen West, author of Sharkman Six


Training to fly the Apache helicopter was the hardest thing I had ever done, or will ever do. Some of the best pilots I’ve known fell by the wayside during Apache conversion training. Cranchy was an instructor for twelve years. He failed. Paul was the chief instructor for an entire regiment, and he failed.

Why was the aircraft so hard to master? In a nutshell: because of the unimaginably demanding need to multi-task. Taking an Apache into battle was like playing an Xbox, a PlayStation, and a chess Grand Master simultaneously—whilst riding Disneyworld’s biggest roller coaster. U.S. studies found that only a very small percentage of human brains could simultaneously do everything required to operate the aircraft.

Information overload was a major issue. At least ten different new facts had to be registered, processed, and acted on every few seconds in the cockpit.

We were constantly bombarded with new information—from the flight instruments, four different radio frequencies chattering at the same time, the internal intercom, the weapons computers’ targeting, the defensive aid suite’s threats, and the Longbow radar.

Then there was the challenge outside the cockpit too. We had to know the position of our wingmen, the whereabouts of other allied jets and helicopters, spot for small-arms fire flashes on the ground, remember friendly ground forces’ positions, and keep a visual lookout for the target.

All this not just for a minute or two, but for three hours without a break. Miss one vital element and you would kill yourself and your copilot in an instant.

U.S. pilots called flying an Apache “riding the dragon.”

If you got something wrong or irritated the machine, it turned around and bit you. A cool temperament was even more important than a good pair of eyes and ears—the ability not to panic no matter what was being demanded of you. The second great challenge was physical coordination. Flying an Apache always meant both hands and feet doing four different things at once. Even our eyes had to learn how to work independently of each other.