The Newsroom

Television News Helicopters

The definitive thread.

IS
Inspector Sands
TVS had a plane too: G-OTVS as seen at the very end of this video: https://youtu.be/3ajXeBm2SpE


In all seriousness now, considering the geography of the region, I don't remember any of the South West companies having their own Maybe Westcountry did as they did use some helicopter shots in their opening title sequence

No chance Westcountry would have had their own. However Westward owned an airline, Air Westward
SP
Steve in Pudsey Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)

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.


Possibly not. BBC Sport used to (and indeed may still) use a chopper as a midpoint for motorcycle based cameras during the London Marathon. ISTR that on occasions when the weather prevented it flying they were only able to get those pictures when the bike was near one of the OB units.
Write that down in your copybook now.
DO
dosxuk Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)

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.


Possibly not. BBC Sport used to (and indeed may still) use a chopper as a midpoint for motorcycle based cameras during the London Marathon. ISTR that on occasions when the weather prevented it flying they were only able to get those pictures when the bike was near one of the OB units.


Broadcast RF have been doing the RF side of the marathon for a few years now, and use a plane as a mid point which doesn't have the same weather restrictions as the helicopters, with additional receive points on buildings towards the end of the course where getting a line of sight to the aircraft is difficult. Everything then sent back to the main OB site at the finish.
UKnews and Steve in Pudsey gave kudos
GE
thegeek Founding member London London
OK. Im loving the sponsorship branding for the for the old Radio Clyde chopper. Barr's IRN BRU EYE in the SKY!

I think it was unusual in that the reporter was also the pilot. Captain George would occasionally interrupt his own travel reports to talk to air traffic control.

Based at Redhill and operated by Arena, they are the BBC and Sky helicopters.
https://www.arena-aircraft.com/aircraft-fleet
There was also an ITN one, but that was some years ago.
G-TAKE, the helicopter currently in BBC livery, used to be G-OITN.
Avatar credit: SMPTE RP198
BR
Brekkie Wales Wales Today
Tonight there was a wild police chase in Philadelphia where an ambulance was stolen, hitting several police cars, the person who stole the ambulance reportedly opened the door and did a fake out as if he was giving up and was likely was tased but he shut the door and continued on. The chase lasted almost an hour. Here’s a video of part of the chase from NBC Philadelphia.

Apparently it was enough interest where it was uplinked I assume to CNN Newsource and was shared that several stations across the country dropped in and out during their 10 or 9 PM newscasts.

And covering them live on TV does nothing to discourage such behaviour and is literally in this case ambulance chasing rather than providing a public service.
Last edited by Brekkie on 1 March 2020 2:58pm
Turns out nobody had 2020 vision.
DV
dvboy Central (West) Midlands Today
OK. Im loving the sponsorship branding for the for the old Radio Clyde chopper. Barr's IRN BRU EYE in the SKY!

I think it was unusual in that the reporter was also the pilot. Captain George would occasionally interrupt his own travel reports to talk to air traffic control.


BRMB had a plane! https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/news-photo/jimmy-franks-of-brmb-with-the-eye-in-the-sky-at-elmdon-12th-news-photo/993676804
Hello, good evening, and remain indoors.
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
dvboy posted:
OK. Im loving the sponsorship branding for the for the old Radio Clyde chopper. Barr's IRN BRU EYE in the SKY!

I think it was unusual in that the reporter was also the pilot. Captain George would occasionally interrupt his own travel reports to talk to air traffic control.


BRMB had a plane! https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/news-photo/jimmy-franks-of-brmb-with-the-eye-in-the-sky-at-elmdon-12th-news-photo/993676804


As did Capital, with David Briggs the reporter. He later teamed up with Breakfast Show presenter Chris Tarrant to devise WWTBAM.

Ocean/Power FM's plane had Spencer Kelly as the reporter (Captain Kelly), he now presents Click on BBC News.
IS
Inspector Sands

Ocean/Power FM's plane had Spencer Kelly as the reporter (Captain Kelly), he now presents Click on BBC News.

Which presumably is this plane, operated by Metro Travel


I stumbled across that while looking for this, one of the all time great radio jingles:

RK
Rkolsen World News
Tonight there was a wild police chase in Philadelphia where an ambulance was stolen, hitting several police cars, the person who stole the ambulance reportedly opened the door and did a fake out as if he was giving up and was likely was tased but he shut the door and continued on. The chase lasted almost an hour. Here’s a video of part of the chase from NBC Philadelphia.

Apparently it was enough interest where it was uplinked I assume to CNN Newsource and was shared that several stations across the country dropped in and out during their 10 or 9 PM newscasts.

And covering them live on TV does nothing to discourage such behaviour and is literally in this case ambulance chasing rather than providing a public service.

Only three stations were live on the air WPVI which provides news to a MyNetwork, KYW’s CW sister station and Fox. The rest were streamed online.
Don’t let anyone treat you like you’re a VO/SOT when you’re a PKG.
CO
commseng London London

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.


Possibly not. BBC Sport used to (and indeed may still) use a chopper as a midpoint for motorcycle based cameras during the London Marathon. ISTR that on occasions when the weather prevented it flying they were only able to get those pictures when the bike was near one of the OB units.

The London Marathon and a few of the other large scale events with cameras on motorbikes are relayed by fixed wing aircraft now circling at around 24,000 feet, as they are not subject to low cloud base as the helicopters are. It's been that way now for quite a few years.
Steve in Pudsey and Markymark gave kudos
SP
Spencer Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)

Ocean/Power FM's plane had Spencer Kelly as the reporter (Captain Kelly), he now presents Click on BBC News.

Which presumably is this plane, operated by Metro Travel


Metro Networks (which became Trafficlink, and now Inrix) had a number of planes across the country in the mid to late 90s from which they would broadcast several stations’ travel bulletins.

The trouble was, because the different bulletins were often very close together, they regularly weren’t where they said they were. If you tuned around you could often hear the same reporter claiming to be looking down on, say, Bradford, and then three minutes later hear them apparently over York or Doncaster. Given the planes weren’t exactly Concorde, I think it’s safe to say there were some porkie-pies being told.

Having said that, it’s better than the story I was told of one ILR station in the 80s whose travel helicopter was a bloke in the next-door studio shouting into a mic with a helicopter sound effect in the background. Apparently they’d occasionally cut the studio output briefly mid-bulletin to give the impression that live link had dropped, for added authenticity.
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
Tonight there was a wild police chase in Philadelphia where an ambulance was stolen, hitting several police cars, the person who stole the ambulance reportedly opened the door and did a fake out as if he was giving up and was likely was tased but he shut the door and continued on. The chase lasted almost an hour. Here’s a video of part of the chase from NBC Philadelphia.

Apparently it was enough interest where it was uplinked I assume to CNN Newsource and was shared that several stations across the country dropped in and out during their 10 or 9 PM newscasts.

Here’s a map of the chase.

*


If you are only interested in News Helicopters, then you already have the only two that are currently on standby in the UK.
Based at Redhill and operated by Arena, they are the BBC and Sky helicopters.
https://www.arena-aircraft.com/aircraft-fleet
There was also an ITN one, but that was some years ago.
Other firms that I have used in the UK for sports or other programme coverage include https://gbhelicopters.com/ https://www.pdgaviationservices.com/ https://www.castleair.co.uk/ https://www.flyingtv.co.uk/ http://www.flyingpictures.com/


I don’t plan on listing ones for sports. Are there any other ones that are occasionally used elsewhere by the BBC, ITV/STV/UTV or Sky News in Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland or even northern England? Additionally are there any in Ireland?

It's probably too old to be of any interest to your spreadsheet, but it appears STV had a helicopter in the 80s.
*G-EYEI and G-STVI by The Viewmaster, on Flickr

It's seen here with Radio Clyde's Barr's Irn Bru Eye in the Sky. Both were operated by Clyde Helicopters - their logo is very similar to that of Radio Clyde, and after doing a bit of digging it seems there was a link between the two in the form of MD Alex Dixon.


TVS had a helicopter in the late 80s/early 90s, used as an SHF mid point before SNG became affordable. Finding a picture of it is as difficult as finding the programme archive. I sat in it once, but didn't get the chance to go airborne



Interesting. Were these used for reports as well or were they just used for microwave hops when needed?



Ocean/Power FM's plane had Spencer Kelly as the reporter (Captain Kelly), he now presents Click on BBC News.

Which presumably is this plane, operated by Metro Travel


Metro Networks (which became Trafficlink, and now Inrix) had a number of planes across the country in the mid to late 90s from which they would broadcast several stations’ travel bulletins.

The trouble was, because the different bulletins were often very close together, they regularly weren’t where they said they were. If you tuned around you could often hear the same reporter claiming to be looking down on, say, Bradford, and then three minutes later hear them apparently over York or Doncaster. Given the planes weren’t exactly Concorde, I think it’s safe to say there were some porkie-pies being told.

Having said that, it’s better than the story I was told of one ILR station in the 80s whose travel helicopter was a bloke in the next-door studio shouting into a mic with a helicopter sound effect in the background. Apparently they’d occasionally cut the studio output briefly mid-bulletin to give the impression that live link had dropped, for added authenticity.


Oh, I'm sure. I once was sailing though a set of lights unimpeaded that were usually a notorious bottle neck, while on the radio Wave 105's eye in the sky were saying they were above the junction and there was a one mile queue.
Spencer and bilky asko gave kudos

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