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If you’ve followed me in our Discord the past several months you’ll have noticed that I have been compiling a list of current news helicopters. Well the list has reached 117 and there’s reportedly an estimated 100-120 helicopters in the US according to TVNewsCheck.  I finally decided to share it here. I have it up as a  Google Sheets right here and you can submit more through a Google Form.  I’d like to thank the many users who have contributed but especially @blizzard59 who helped me finish it off and find ones that I have had trouble with. 
 

CC6AA194-451F-4040-8C6F-8B52A020967D.thumb.jpeg.976a155bc170622460f05462557579f1.jpeg

B2507627-D345-45F9-8AF7-2D97F68EF236.thumb.jpeg.afadc7af611772bc2b211333e91b8148.jpegCE22CD1B-12A7-4EC7-99AF-77434AE43888.thumb.jpeg.421686df33bd0b17f2a7ece17cd6c865.jpeg

413CD3D5-3DF9-4937-9089-0039F26AB918.thumb.jpeg.2019635de8a08f3d2970be5ddbc08937.jpeg
 

Edit: The Google Sheets is always up to date. The images above were from when this thread was posted.  Since then many of you posted corrections and additions. Thank you!

Edited by rkolsen
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In my city - Denver, Colorado - all five stations share one helicopter. They don't have their own choppers like they used to.

 

KUSA had their own chopper called SKY9. At KCNC CBS4, it was Copter 4 piloted by Mike Silva. AirTracker7 was the helicopter for KMGH. When KDVR opened their news department, they had a helicopter called SkyFox. KWGN had no chopper.

 

I know helicopters are expensive. The Bell JetRanger costs $1 million, while the EuroCopter Airbus A350 costs $2 million, plus factor in the high operating costs. 

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51 minutes ago, oknewsguy said:

Looks very nice is this still a Work in Progress or is this the finished product?

Still a work in progress, but as far as I know it’s probably done. If I spot backup helicopters used or find something out I’ll add them. 

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1 hour ago, newsteam13 said:

In my city - Denver, Colorado - all five stations share one helicopter. They don't have their own choppers like they used to.

 

KUSA had their own chopper called SKY9. At KCNC CBS4, it was Copter 4 piloted by Mike Silva. AirTracker7 was the helicopter for KMGH. When KDVR opened their news department, they had a helicopter called SkyFox. KWGN had no chopper.

 

I know helicopters are expensive. The Bell JetRanger costs $1 million, while the EuroCopter Airbus A350 costs $2 million, plus factor in the high operating costs. 

 

It's a 2003 Eurocopter AS-350 AStar (single-turboshaft). Tail Number N6UX. It has an internal name at the local stations. If I read you into it, I'd have to kill you. I don't make up the rules. 🤷‍♂️

 

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/N6UX

 

 

 

 

Interestingly, the Bell 407, tail #N2QU, that's currently grounded for WSB-TV, used to fly in Denver under the tail #N90TV for KUSA.

Edited by ABC 7 Denver
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1 hour ago, ABC 7 Denver said:

 

It's a 2003 Eurocopter AS-350 AStar (single-turboshaft). Tail Number N6UX. It has an internal name at the local stations. If I read you into it, I'd have to kill you. I don't make up the rules. 🤷‍♂️

 

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/N6UX

 

 

 

 

Interestingly, the Bell 407, tail #N2QU, that's currently grounded for WSB-TV, used to fly in Denver under the tail #N90TV for KUSA.

Nice video. Who dispatches it or do they all take turns?

 

Also, what do you mean N2QU is grounded - are they doing any aerial footage?

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4 minutes ago, rkolsen said:

Nice video. Who dispatches it or do they all take turns?

 

Also, what do you mean N2QU is grounded - are they doing any aerial footage?

 

They informally rotate.  There is another partner which would be Newsradio KOA, who's licensed to my hometown ironically.  https://denver.cbslocal.com/2016/06/20/john-morrissey-colon-cancer-screening-koa/

 

https://www.ftvlive.com/sqsp-test/2020/1/14/grounded-in-atlanta

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WPVI’s is called Chopper 6. Sky 6 is just a sky camera.

Edited by cg41386

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18 hours ago, newsteam13 said:

In my city - Denver, Colorado - all five stations share one helicopter. They don't have their own choppers like they used to.

 

KUSA had their own chopper called SKY9. At KCNC CBS4, it was Copter 4 piloted by Mike Silva. AirTracker7 was the helicopter for KMGH. When KDVR opened their news department, they had a helicopter called SkyFox. KWGN had no chopper.

 

I know helicopters are expensive. The Bell JetRanger costs $1 million, while the EuroCopter Airbus A350 costs $2 million, plus factor in the high operating costs. 

i've read that KCNC's old helicopeter was shared with KKTV.

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12 hours ago, cg41386 said:

WPVI’s is called Chopper 6. Sky 6 is just a sky camera.

Thanks. I updated it on the google doc. 
 

19 hours ago, ABC 7 Denver said:

 

They informally rotate.  There is another partner which would be Newsradio KOA, who's licensed to my hometown ironically.  https://denver.cbslocal.com/2016/06/20/john-morrissey-colon-cancer-screening-koa/

 

https://www.ftvlive.com/sqsp-test/2020/1/14/grounded-in-atlanta

I’ll add KOA.  
 

The WSB helicopter still flies. The photojournalist was fired. 
 

 

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The Sinclair stations in San Antonio (WOAI/KABB) share a chopper. It was inherited when Sinclair acquired WOAI, where it’s known as World Car Sky 4. The tail is N61CL. 
 

Also ... the helicopter shared by the Houston stations (other than KTRK) still has KPRC’s branding. 

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KTTV Fox 11 Los Angeles also has its own chopper, SkyFOX. 

Used daily from 4 am to 1 pm. Sometimes later. They also use chopper video (only) from KCBS/KCAL. KABC does not share their chopper video with any other Los Angeles tv station. KCBS/KCAL's chopper is called Sky2 (when on KCBS) and Sky9 (when on KCAL). KMEX 34 (Univision) also has their own chopper. 

 

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KWTV's is actually known as SkyNews 9HD or as Bob Mills SkyNews 9HD and KOTV's is known as Osage SkyNews 6HD. And KFOR's is known as Air Comfort Solutions Chopper 4.

Edited by ScottSchell

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56 minutes ago, CalItalian2 said:

KTTV Fox 11 Los Angeles also has its own chopper, SkyFOX. 

Used daily from 4 am to 1 pm. Sometimes later. They also use chopper video (only) from KCBS/KCAL. KABC does not share their chopper video with any other Los Angeles tv station. KCBS/KCAL's chopper is called Sky2 (when on KCBS) and Sky9 (when on KCAL). KMEX 34 (Univision) also has their own chopper. 

 

I knew KTTV had there own but I don’t know which is which so that’s why I marked both N29HD and N211FN as KCBS/KCAL/KTTV. I’ve seen Stu Mundel fly and report in both.

 

I added KMEX’s Eagle 1.

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54 minutes ago, ScottSchell said:

KWTV's is actually known as SkyNews 9HD or as Bob Mills SkyNews 9HD and KOTV's is known as Osage SkyNews 6HD. And KFOR's is known as Air Comfort Solutions Chopper 4.

Actually KFOR's chopper is no longer called Air Comfort Solutions Chopper 4 (or ACS Chopper 4 for short) it's now just Chopper 4.

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2 hours ago, oknewsguy said:

Actually KFOR's chopper is no longer called Air Comfort Solutions Chopper 4 (or ACS Chopper 4 for short) it's now just Chopper 4.

 

Why did they kill the licensing agreement?

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8 hours ago, oknewsguy said:

Actually KFOR's chopper is no longer called Air Comfort Solutions Chopper 4 (or ACS Chopper 4 for short) it's now just Chopper 4.

 

6 hours ago, ABC 7 Denver said:

 

Why did they kill the licensing agreement?

I decided to just now write the helicopters branding without the sponsorship as they may change rapidly. Those that are sponsored now have “Typically sponsor branded” in the notes column.  

KMEX’s Aguila 1 (for some reason doesn’t have the acute A) has branding on the side of the helicopter and on a transitional screen. However when it was tossed to by the anchor it was not mentioned.

10 hours ago, Greggo said:

The Sinclair stations in San Antonio (WOAI/KABB) share a chopper. It was inherited when Sinclair acquired WOAI, where it’s known as World Car Sky 4. The tail is N61CL. 
 

Also ... the helicopter shared by the Houston stations (other than KTRK) still has KPRC’s branding. 

Thank you, I added them. 
 

Also I was looking into N828AP which supposedly is KABC’s third helicopter, I seen Stu Mundel flying in it and a different picture from the inside listing the frequencies for KABC/KCBS/KCAL/KMEX/KTTV making me assume it’s a on demand helicopter or a backup. However I should add I’ve never seen KABC flying more than one helicopter at once. 

 

 

 

7265125E-4A31-4C54-8DA4-DEE7231F5196.jpeg

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So I have noticed 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:

 

Quote

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.

Edited by rkolsen

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On 2/28/2020 at 12:36 AM, rkolsen said:

If you’ve followed me in our Discord the past several months you’ll have noticed that I have been compiling a list of current news helicopters. Well the list has reached 117 and there’s reportedly an estimated 100-120 helicopters in the US according to TVNewsCheck.  I finally decided to share it here. I have it up as a  Google Sheets right here and you can submit more through a Google Form.  I’d like to thank the many users who have contributed but especially @blizzard59 who helped me finish it off and find ones that I have had trouble with. 
 

CC6AA194-451F-4040-8C6F-8B52A020967D.thumb.jpeg.976a155bc170622460f05462557579f1.jpeg

B2507627-D345-45F9-8AF7-2D97F68EF236.thumb.jpeg.afadc7af611772bc2b211333e91b8148.jpegCE22CD1B-12A7-4EC7-99AF-77434AE43888.thumb.jpeg.421686df33bd0b17f2a7ece17cd6c865.jpeg

413CD3D5-3DF9-4937-9089-0039F26AB918.thumb.jpeg.2019635de8a08f3d2970be5ddbc08937.jpeg

Is this not a list thread? It even has the word “list” in its title. @Weeters @24994J @CircleSeven

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2 hours ago, rkolsen said:

Also I was looking into N828AP which supposedly is KABC’s third helicopter, I seen Stu Mundel flying in it and a different picture from the inside listing the frequencies for KABC/KCBS/KCAL/KMEX/KTTV making me assume it’s a on demand helicopter or a backup. However I should add I’ve never seen KABC flying more than one helicopter at once. 

 

Helinet: N71HD is KABC's main Air 7 HD since 2005, with the branding scheme. It is not used by any other station for video feed or on-air reporting. This ship has the Shotover camera for the MapTracking system. Helinet, the provider for KABC/KCBS/KCAL/KTTV/KMEX always flip flops whatever backup choppers they have, as needed. N828AP is one of Helinet's newest A-Stars, and that is now used as the primary backup ship for KABC. It was the first to have the call sign taken off of the online tracking servers. N828AP is in a black color scheme, and is occasionally used for outside production purposes. KABC also has their old original 1995 "Air 7" N67TV, which is in the grey paint scheme. Since N828AP has been in use, N67TV has been used as a backup for all of the Helinet stations, as well as outside production purposes. In the photo KABC posted 5 years ago, N67TV is seen on the right hand side. Those KABC logos are never on there. 

 

N111FN and N211FN used to be the sold KTTV ships. N111FN was destroyed at VNY a few years back. Now, it's a toss up between whatever is flying. KTTV in the morning can use N211FN or N29HD with Rick Dickert reporting. KCBS/KCAL with Stu Mundel uses the same ship usually in the evening for their reports. N29HD is the preferred ship, as it has the "Shotover" camera which allows for the MapTracking. As for N29FX, that's also a backup ship used by whoever. It's the oldest A-Star in the fleet, so just used when needed. 

 

Welk Aviation formerly Angel City Air: KTLA uses N925TV, which was recently repainted in a blue paint scheme, similar branding look to their news trucks.  In recent times, KTLA's primary backup is N12YJ. N12YJ is unbranded and is unique because the camera controls are "shotgun" up front with the pilot, not in the backseat. Both choppers are based out of Pacoima. KNBC uses N358TV as News Chopper 4 Alpha and it's based out of Pacoima. KNBC News Chopper 4 Bravo is based out of Fullerton base, and it's normally N29LW. This chopper is unbranded. Welk Aviation used to have N1231A also as a backup, but it's being used by NBC in Boston. Last but not least, N61HL is still around (the former Sky 9 bird) and it's used as an unbranded spare for Welk Aviation. 

 

You can log onto http://www.adsbexchange.com/ and see all of the tail numbers un-blocked, when they're flying. 

Edited by n925tv
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Your list mentions KCTV discontinued their chopper in January 2020. They shared it with KSHB (it's really their chopper). Did that agreement end?

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29 minutes ago, n925tv said:

N71HD is KABC's main Air 7 HD since 2005, with the branding scheme. It is not used by any other station for video feed or on-air reporting. This ship has the Shotover camera for the MapTracking system. Helinet, the provider for KABC/KCBS/KCAL/KTTV/KMEX always flip flops whatever backup choppers they have, as needed. N828AP is one of Helinet's newest A-Stars, and that is now used as the primary backup ship for KABC. It was the first to have the call sign taken off of the online tracking servers. N828AP is in a black color scheme, and is occasionally used for outside production purposes. KABC also has their old original 1995 "Air 7" N67TV, which is in the grey paint scheme. Since N828AP has been in use, N67TV has been used as a backup for all of the Helinet stations, as well as outside production purposes. In the photo KABC posted 5 years ago, N67TV is seen on the right hand side. Those KABC logos are never on there. 

 

N111FN and N211FN used to be the sold KTTV ships. N111FN was destroyed at VNY a few years back. Now, it's a toss up between whatever is flying. KTTV in the morning can use N211FN or N29HD with Rick Dickert reporting. KCBS/KCAL with Stu Mundel uses the same ship usually in the evening for their reports. N29HD is the preferred ship, as it has the "Shotover" camera which allows for the MapTracking. As for N29FX, that's also a backup ship used by whoever. It's the oldest A-Star in the fleet, so just used when needed. 

 

You can log onto http://www.adsbexchange.com/ and see all of the tail numbers un-blocked, when they're flying. 

Thanks.  Can you checkout the spreadsheet for me to make sure it’s correct?
 

31 minutes ago, TVNewsLover said:

Is this not a list thread? It even has the word “list” in its title. @Weeters @24994J @CircleSeven

I didn’t intend for it to be a list thread despite. This was something that I’ve been working on in the discord server and have decided to post it here.
 

 

29 minutes ago, MidwestTV said:

Your list mentions KCTV discontinued their chopper in January 2020. They shared it with KSHB (it's really their chopper). Did that agreement end?

I am not sure. For KCTV I listed it as discontinued due to this post from FTVLive

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