Created by Donald P. Bellisario, who had already had such hits as 'Magnum p.i.' (1980-1988), 'Airwolf' followed the adventures of a hi-tech helicopter and it's reclusive pilot, Stringfellow Hawke.
Bellisario developed Airwolf (early working titles: Blackwolf, Lonewolf), from the loose concept of a third season 'Magnum, P.I.' episode he'd previously written, titled 'Two Birds Of A Feather' (1983) - an unsold pilot about a treasure-hunting, adventure-loving ace combat pilot named Sam Houston Hunter (William Lucking). Bellisario had come up with the concept after Lucking played a similar character in a couple of episodes of another Bellisario series, 'Tales Of The Gold Monkey' (1982-3). After the proposed new series wasn't picked up, Bellisario took the bare bones of the concept, and eventually developed the premise into 'Airwolf'.
Airwolf itself was a hi-tech attack helicopter, equipped with cutting-edge on-board computer, surveillance and radar systems, able to fly quicker than the fastest jets, and armed with awesome fire-power. Dubbed "The Lady" due to it's slender grace, Airwolf had been constructed by "The Firm", a mysterious, top-secret division of the C.I.A., distinguishable by it's agents all-white dress code.
At the start of the Pilot adventure, we see Airwolf on its maiden test flight, piloted by its creator, Dr. Moffet (David Hemmings). But after the successful test flight, the twisted Moffet turns the chopper's lethal fire-power onto the flight tower, causing carnage, before heading off to Libya in the machine.
Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III, codename "Archangel" (Alex Cord), the head of the division who built Airwolf, is badly wounded in the assault but not yet out of the game. Now wearing an eye-patch and walking with aid of a cane as a result of his injuries, he calls upon ace combat pilot Stringfellow Hawke (Jan-Michael Vincent) to take the task of bringing back Airwolf from Libya.
Hawke is a cello-playing recluse, living in his scenaric cabin in the mountains – with a priceless art collection, and with only his dog Tet for company - ever since his brother St. John went Missing In Action in the Vietnam War, never to be found. Hawke eventually agrees to take the mission, aided by his only close friend, Dominic Santini (Ernest Borgnine). Much Hawke's senior, Dominic was very much his mentor, who was prone to the odd bout of grouchiness, but for the majority of the time was raucously cheerful. He owned Santini Air, a flight...