The KTLA Telecopter was the world's first television news helicopter, which first went into operation in 1958. The on-board video and audio equipment communicated with a line of sight KTLA transmitter receiver on top of Mount Wilson. The first helicopter was leased to KTLA by National Helicopter Service and Engineering Company in Van Nuys. For several years, KTLA (channel 5) was the only TV station with a helicopter based TV camera crewed reporting platform.
The Telecopter was designed and introduced by KTLA chief engineer John D. Silva (1920-2012).
The first three Telecopters were as follows:
|1||1958||Bell 47G-2||Equipment mounted externally|
|2||1959||Bell 47J-2 Ranger||Equipment mounted internally|
|3||1969||Bell 206 JetRanger|
- Joiner, Stephen (May 2009). "History of Flight: Zoom Shot". Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
One day in L.A., a helicopter changed television news forever
- "Original press releases issued by KTLA regarding the creation of the "TELECOPTER"". National Helicopter Service and Engineering Company. 1958. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
Photos taken during its construction in Dick Hart's backyard in North Hollywood
- "John D. Silva dies at 92; introduced news helicopter", Bob Pool, Los Angeles Times, December 7, 2012