Rocker Kiwi pilot has smash hit on YouTube

Online hit: Iroquois helicopter pilot Tim Costley irreverent take on jet pilots is a hit on Youtube.
Online hit: Iroquois helicopter pilot Tim Costley irreverent take on jet pilots is a hit on Youtube.

He's a pilot. A Huey pilot-turned-international singing sensation.

But Tim Costley never intended it that way. 

Blessed with a quick mind and incurable sense of humour, the Ohakea-based Iroquois helicopter pilot ad-libbed a song in an Australian mess hall that has become an internet hit.

The inspired music video Jet Pilot burst on to You Tube and has since been viewed more than 140,000 times  sparking global fits of laughter.

But it didn't end there. Fans demanded more.

Costley, who likes to think of himself as ``a duo performing solo'', responded by making Jet Pilot available for download on Apple's iTunes online site and set up a Facebook page under his new band name Airtime.

Like two bogeys dropping out of the sun, he never saw fame coming.

But, given his talent, it was really only a matter of time before the boy, whose musical prowess was shaped through Palmerston North's All Saints Church, found his niche.

Witty banter is his forte.

Costley said it all began in Townsville last August when a group of Australian fighter pilots asked him to sing a song about them.

"I consider it more of a documentary than a song,'' he said. ``They're an easy target. But, yeah, I just made it up as I went. It's all satirical. There's always been plenty of banter between Huey and jet pilots. Unfortunately for them we're better looking and much smarter.''

On return to New Zealand he recorded the song on his computer.

But it wasn't until Costley deployed to East Timor  that he decided to make the accompanying music video for 3 Squadron's Academy Awards night.

The finished ``Oscar''-winning product was shot on a hand-held camcorder, dominating his spare time for a month.

Despite its brilliance, Costley said  it wasn't made for the internet. An Australian comrade put it online and the fan base quickly grew.

It's even possible they might have more to look forward to.

Costley said he had branched out from ``church music'' to ``inner-man'' Kenny with his ``sheep music''  inspired by the songs of David Brent.

Other titles he has up his sleeve are Yak Song and Give a Man a Fish, the latter a twisted political commentary on Africa.

He has also starred in the series Airwatch, where Top Gun meets Baywatch.

Now Costley hopes to use the internet to recover the $35 it cost to make the Jet Pilot video.

He gets about 30c of the $1.79 fans pay to download the song. ``So if I get a couple of hundred people to buy it, I'll even make a sweet profit.''

The Manawatu Standard