Interesting. Were these used for reports as well or were they just used for microwave hops when needed?
TVS's could provide pictures from the chopper itself, but only when the chopper was relatively static, there was no way it could have provided live coverage of a race or car chase. There were only two Rx points (Chillerton Down on the Isle of Wight and Bluebell Hill in NE Kent). It pretty much lined up on one or the other by facing towards the masts, in a position above the news crew on the ground.
So the receive site and transmitter I assume were fixed in place compared today’s (atleast in the US) directional gyroscopic antennas on the helicopter and auto tracking receive sites.
I have noticed over the past few weeks most of LA’s news choppers were just showing up on the map as AS50 but didn’t have their tail number. Even though there were no tail numbers it was obvious they were news helicopters as they were all grouped together and following close to a nearby police helicopter. So today I started entering the tail numbers into FlightAware and got the message:
N71HD - HELINET AVIATION SERVICES LLC (VAN NUYS CA
This aircraft (N71HD) is not available for public tracking per request from the owner/operator.
So the tail numbers that are now blocked are from KABC (N71HD, N29FX), KNBC/KVEA (N358TV, N29LW), KTLA (N925TV) and backups (N12YJ, N828AP). Right now there are only three helicopters that show up which are Univision’s KMEX (N213PD) and the two that are shared between the KCBS/KCAL duopoly and Fox’s KTTV which are (N29HD, N211FN). Now there are only two providers in LA - Welk Aviation which provides to KNBC/KVEA and KTLA; and Helinet which handles KABC, KCBS/KCAL, KMEX, and KTTV.
Now I’m not sure why they requested not to be tracked it could be any number of reasons such as safety or stations request for not wanting the competition to know where they are. I think it may be the latter because Helinet’s helicopters for KCBS/KCAL, KMEX and KTTV are not blocked while KABC is. Helinet if they wanted could just put out a blanket request as opposed to a select few of their fleet.
Now the most out there reason: although I seriously doubt it but cannot help but wonder if my making the list would factor into their consideration to block helicopters. I’ve asked questions about registration/station use on twitter to their pilots/photojournalists and promoted the list using various hashtags. I’ve gotten more views on those tweets than my regular ones so maybe people have picked up on it.
Last edited by Rkolsen on 29 February 2020 6:21pm
Don’t let anyone treat you like you’re a VO/SOT when you’re a PKG.