The Aviators (TV series)

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The Aviators
The Aviators TV Official Logo.png
Written byAndrew Johnston
Directed byAnthony Nalli
StarringAnthony Nalli
Kurtis Arnold
Sara Rependa
Narrated byAnthony Nalli
Country of originCanada
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes81
Executive producer(s)Anthony Nalli
Running time30 minutes
Original networkSyndication, PBS, Travel + Escape, Discovery Channel
Picture format16:9 HDTV
Original releaseSeptember 4, 2010
External links

The Aviators is an award-winning weekly documentary-lifestyle-science TV series featuring interesting people, the latest aircraft, current technology and fly-in destinations. The show's site describes subject matter as follows: "We will take you behind the scenes to show you how airline pilots train, how planes are built, and how ATC works. We will profile aviation businesses and showcase aviation products. We will provide safety tips for private and recreational pilots and career tips for professional pilots."[citation needed]

The Aviators premiered on the Global Television Network on Saturday, September 4, 2010. It could also be seen on CHEK-TV in Canada and is distributed to all 356 Public Broadcasting Stations in the United States for broadcast in numerous markets starting in September 2010. On September 1, 2010 the producers announced that a deal had been signed with Discovery Channel Asia that saw the series broadcast overseas in the spring of 2011.

In the first six months after its premiere, the show aired almost 8,000 times across North America - an average of over 40 times a day. The Aviators launched on Hulu in February 2011 and was viewed over 32,000 times in just two weeks. In March 2011 producers announced some changes for season two including the addition of country music singer (and pilot) George Canyon to the cast as a guest host for the season. The current (seventh) season premiered in January 2018. Production for an eighth season has begun, and is planned to air in North America in 2019.


Nielsen ratings after season one was broadcast report an average weekly household viewership in the US of 3,590,899. Assuming 2.6 viewers per viewing household that would be 9,336,337 weekly US viewers. This is for the United States only for broadcasts on PBS. This does NOT include Canadian or overseas broadcasts or online viewing.[citation needed]


On April 19, 2012 The Aviators was awarded a 2012 Silver Plaque in the category of Educational/Documentary Series at the 48th Hugo Television Awards presented by Cinema/Chicago and the Chicago International Film Festival.[citation needed]

iTunes Ranking[edit]

The first two seasons of The Aviators held positions in iTunes' top 50 Non-Fiction TV Series right up to the premiere of season three on September 18, 2012. The first episode of the third season skyrocketed up the charts eventually landing on the #3 position on the day of its release, immediately behind The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and ahead of titles like Top Gear, The Colbert Report, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, and Mythbusters. This meteoric rise carried with it seasons one and two which finished the day in positions #7 and #9 respectively, resulting in all three seasons of The Aviators ranked in the top 10 at the same time. Season 3 also broke the Top 50 chart of OVERALL television series', ranking #46, in company with shows like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Office, Boardwalk Empire, Modern Family, and The Simpsons. Within just one week of the free-download release of the first episode of season 3 on iTunes it became the top All-Time Bestseller among free TV episodes.

Season 4 bettered this when it premiered on September 17, 2013 quickly rising to the #2 position once again immediately behind The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Unlike the previous year, iTunes did not offer a free episode nor was the series featured until September 24, 2013, nearly a week after the premiere during which time the new season maintained a position in the Top 10 with seasons 1 to 3 also rising to hold positions in the Top 25.

Released Preview Segments (Season 1)[edit]

  • EAA AirVenture – Sara Rependa visits AirVenture for the first time and sees such attractions as the Airbus A380, the USAF C5M, and the VMS Eve.
  • Julie Clark – Kurtis Arnold interviews legendary airshow pilot and women's aviation pioneer Julie Clark.
  • Russian MiG 15 – Jeff Lewis takes us for the ride of a lifetime on the most reproduced fighter jet ever made.
  • Flat spin – Neil Spooner describes how he survived an unsurvivable flat spin.

Episode guide (Season 1)[edit]

13 x 30 HD

  • 1.01: EAA AirVenture: America's largest aviation celebration, The US Air Force's C5M Supergalaxy, The Tiger Moth biplane, Miracle on the Hudson hero Jeff Skiles, Flat spin survivor
  • 1.02: Chartright corporate charters, Cross Canada Century Flight, Air show pilot Julie Clark, Affordable helicopters
  • 1.03: Legacy of the Cessna brand, Float training, How to land an airliner, Aerobatic champion Patty Wagstaff, Russian MiG 15
  • 1.04: Sun 'n Fun special from Lakeland, FL
  • 1.05: Can a private pilot land an airliner?, Delfin L-29 fighter jet, Aircraft annual inspection, Airbus A380
  • 1.06: Can a non-pilot land an airliner?, Zaon collision avoidance PCAS, Women in Aviation, Light sport aviation
  • 1.07: Air Traffic Control Tower, Walkaround checks, Quesnel air show, Pilot profile: John Lovelace
  • 1.08: Aerobatic pilot Rick Volker, Homebuilt industry, Cessna Caravan, Mid-Continent instruments
  • 1.09: Air Traffic Control: En route control, Boundary Bay air show, Beechcraft Staggerwing, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)
  • 1.10: Aircraft auction, Ultralight flying, Aviation destination: Wichita
  • 1.11: Mikey McBryan of TV's ‘Ice Pilots NWT’, Goodyear blimp, Midnight Sun Challenge into the Yukon
  • 1.12: A day in the life of an airline pilot, Airline environmentalism, Airliner maintenance
  • 1.13: Cross-border flying, Boreal forest, Flying a Cessna around the world, Splash-in: Float plane fly-in

Episode guide (Season 2)[edit]

13 x 30 HD

  • 2.01: Aviation 101: An explanation of some of the very basics of aviation. Host profiles: A closer look at some of the hosts of The Aviators including Sara, Kurtis, Anthony, and new host, country music singer George Canyon.
  • 2.02: ATC gibberish: Breaking down and simplifying all that complex sounding radio chatter. Water egress: Sara learns how to escape from a submerged aircraft. Condor Squadron: Taking to the air with a team of formation pilots flying World War II era planes.
  • 2.03: Can a kid land an airliner?: A follow up to some of the popular sim segments from season one, but this time with a 12-year-old at the controls! Flight services: Kurtis shows us the many important functions of this often overlooked aspect of Air Traffic Control services. $100 hamburger: A pilot expression for an aviation food-run. Anthony and Raeleen dig in at Greenville, SC.
  • 2.04: Private pilot emergency: Anthony closes the season 2 sim segments by having everything but the kitchen sink thrown at him. Can he do it? MCAS Miramar (formerly Top Gun): Spending the day with US Marine fighter pilots at their legendary base.
  • 2.05: Day in the life of an air show (Part 1 of 2): We take you behind the scenes for an exclusive look at the inner workings of one of America's biggest air shows.
  • 2.06: Day in the life of an air show (Part 2 of 2): The exciting conclusion to the two-part special including an up-close look at the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.
  • 2.07: AOPA Summit: The annual event of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. LAPD: We take you inside the aerial unit of the Los Angeles Police Department to see how the world's largest police fleet helps to catch bad guys. iPad in the cockpit: We get hands-on with the revolutionary tablet device to show some of the most popular aviation tools available.
  • 2.08: Remote control aircraft: We visit the Joe Nall event, the “Oshkosh” of RC flying. Blue Angels – Fat Albert: All aboard Fat Albert Airlines, the Blue Angels’ incredible USMC C130T. Yak 52W: Sara meets Peyton McCool and takes a spin (literally) in his Soviet-era trainer.
  • 2.09: Triple Tree Aerodrome: A look at one of the most meticulously maintained grass runways anywhere at what we discovered to be a pure haven for lovers of aviation and the outdoors. Aeroshell Aerobatic Team: Raeleen goes flying with these rock stars of the air show circuit. Dream flight of a lifetime: Twenty pilots attend a T33 Silverstar ground school but only one will win a chance to actually fly it.
  • 2.10: Aircraft ownership: Kurtis exploring the varied costs and entry points of flying for everyone from the weekend warrior to the rich and famous. Airpark living: When your driveway is a runway, life is good... and as airparks go, this place is Heavenly! Pilot profile – Pete McLeod: Jeff talks to the Red Bull Air Racer about life as a high-adrenalin, competitive flyer.
  • 2.11: Aircraft engines: Kurtis learns about aircraft power plants from Penn Yan Aero's Bill Middlebrook, whose family has a long and rich history in American aviation. Lockheed Electra: Made famous by Amelia Earhart, Jeff takes us flying in this classic bird. Most female friendly airport: George celebrates women in aviation at the most female friendly airport in the world.
  • 2.12: Buying a used aircraft: Anthony shows that buying The Aviators’ new 210 can be just as simple as buying a used car. And accessorizing it can be just as fun. Heli-tourism: We’ll show you how helicopters can give you a unique look at one of the great wonders of the world. Antonov AN-10: George explores the history of this four turbo-prop engine Soviet-era passenger plane and learns how it's used today.
  • 2.13: $100 Hamburger #2: Another flying excursion in search of great grub. Soaring: A form of flying where missing the roar of the engine is entirely the point! Warbirds: We take a walk back in time and get up close to a collection of historic aircraft that flew world-altering missions.

Episode guide (Season 3)[edit]

13 x 30 HD

Episode guide (Season 4)[edit]

13 x 30 HD

  • 4.01: FLS Microjet: This spunky little jet weighs in at a mere 400 pounds! We profile this incredible (and tiny) aircraft and its full-sized pilot. SR-71: Blackbird pilot Terry Pappas tells us what its like to be one of just 478 people who have flown this stealthy Strategic Reconnaissance aircraft. Sean D. Tucker: We get to know the man behind the famous red Oracle plane and watch his death-defying aerobatics up close.
  • 4.02: Zenith 801: No runway? No problem! We challenge the limits faced in the world of bush flying in this amazing utilitarian aircraft. Legacy Flight: A tribute to our flying heroes, past and present. ILS Testing: The Instrument Landing System (ILS) is a precise system used to help planes land almost blind. We do some extreme flying in a CRJ-200 to test the system.
  • 4.03: Float Planes: An introduction to the world of seaplanes. Buying an Aircraft: Ever wondered how to actually buy an airplane? Aircraft Boneyard: With over 4,200 aircraft, sure the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) is a “Boneyard” but it's also so much more.
  • 4.04: Civil Air Patrol: We participate in a search and rescue exercise with CAP members and cadets. AWACS: We take an exclusive inside look at the Air Force's eyes in the skies: the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) E-3 Sentry. B-17: Kurtis looks at the historic Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.
  • 4.05: Radial Engines: Anthony learns about the one-of a-kind sound and look of radial engines. Aerial Refueling: In-air refueling brings new meaning to the term “close flight” as we profile the KC-135 Stratotanker and its crew.
  • 4.06: AH-1 Cobra: We take you aboard this two-bladed single engine attack helicopter formerly used by the United States Army. Team AeroDynamix: No other air show act in the world puts as many aircraft in the air at one time than Team AeroDynamix. We take you flying with them. Tank Killer: We profile the A-10 Thunderbolt II, the tank-killer more commonly known as the Warthog.
  • 4.07: Landings: Takeoffs are optional, but landings are mandatory! Kurtis takes a look at how to land different types of aircraft. Seabee: Is it a boat or is it a plane? It's both! We show you the exciting world of Seabees. Varied Aviation Training: Short or long runways. Controlled or uncontrolled airports. Desert, mountain, or coastal flying. We look at the various ways and places you can learn to fly.
  • 4.08: Glasair: We go flying in this blazingly fast low-wing, two-seat homebuilt aircraft. Legend Cub: The Cub is an aviators’ favorite and the Legend Cub is today's most popular American-manufactured light sport aircraft. Terminals: How are airport terminals designed? We check out the form and function of terminals from the design of the arrivals and departures areas to how the gates arranged to park aircraft.
  • 4.09: Savannah: We profile this capable and affordable light sport homebuilt aircraft. UH-1 Huey: A lot of people may recognize this helicopter from the film “Apocalypse Now”, but this bird has a lot more history than just that. Formation Flying: Kurtis expands his warbird flying experience and tries his hand at formation flying.
  • 4.10: How to Fly an ILS Approach: Kurtis shows you how to land an aircraft when you can’t see the ground using only your flight instruments. Airplane Parachutes: Can a parachute strapped to the back of an aircraft really save the lives of it passengers? 777-300ER: We examine the history and showcase the latest variant of the Boeing 777.
  • 4.11: Aircraft Mods: A look at how aerodynamic tweaks can improve performance and increase speed. Soaring: Anthony tries to keep his cool while flying without the reassuring sound of a roaring engine.
  • 4.12: F-4U Corsair: The World War II fighter made famous by the legendary Greg “Pappy” Boyington. Aerobatics: Kurtis receives an introduction to Aerobatics. We’ve seen him do a lot this season, but can he master this aviation skill?
  • 4.13: Goodyear Blimp: The Goodyear Blimp is an American icon. But Goodyear is at a transformational point in their history as they revamp the fleet to Zeppelins.

Episode guide (Season 5)[edit]

13 x 30 HD

  • 5.01: Best of The Aviators: Pulling back the curtain to reveal never before seen footage with a collection of outtakes that uncover what's been hidden from the public until now.
  • 5.02: Deconstructing an Air Show Routine: The world's best, Sean D. Tucker, takes us through his gut-wrenching act turn by superhuman turn. Flight Attendant School (Part 1): Anthony learns the hard way that a flight attendant's job is more than just serving coffee and peanuts.
  • 5.03: Flight Attendant School (Part 2): We go inside a fully operational aircraft cabin simulator to demonstrate a few safety scenarios in response to some in-flight situations. Hangar Flying – Fighters: Kurtis, Sara, and Anthony debate the merits of their favorite fighters.
  • 5.04: Jet Man: We join Yves Rossy as he soars through the air with the help of nothing more than a jet-powered wing strapped to his back! Volunteerism: Showcasing several ways in which pilots lend their wings to a charitable cause including Pilots N Paws, Angel Flight West, and Archangel Airborne.
  • 5.05: World War II Advancements in Aviation: We examine the impact of the Second World War on aviation. Pearl Harbor / Tora, Tora, Tora: A historic look at the attack on Pearl Harbor and how a live reenactment helps tell the story.
  • 5.06: Air Show Pyrotechnics: We showcase Rich Gibson, the man behind some of the most explosive airshow spectacles. Hangar Flying – Bombers: Kurtis, Sara, and Anthony debate the merits of their favorite bomber planes.
  • 5.07: 100 Years of Commercial Flight: The highs and the lows of an industry that has become an essential part of our lives.
  • 5.08: Epic Aircraft: Surprise! Anthony gets an unexpected opportunity to fly a brand new turboprop-driven aircraft. Jet Truck: 3 jet engines, 36,000 horsepower, and over 375 miles per hour, this land-based vehicle puts competing airplanes to shame!
  • 5.09: Aircraft Tires: Tires are one of the most overlooked parts of an aircraft so we highlight the importance of a plane's rubber. World's Highest Control Tower: Check out the view of Vancouver Harbour from the tallest air traffic control tower in the world. Maintenance: They say flying is safer than driving. We look at the incredibly tight processes that make that possible.
  • 5.10: Air Show Radio Chatter: Air shows are recognized as having great visual appeal. But when we take viewers inside the cockpit during an airshow performance, learning the significance of what's said or surprisingly NOT said will send your head spinning. Hangar Flying – General Aviation: Kurtis, Sara, and Anthony wrap up their debate series by discussing their favorite single engine planes.
  • 5.11: Challenger 605: We fly well above first class in the kind of super elite style experienced by only A-list celebrities, fortune 500 executives, and heads of state. Navigation: You CAN get there from here, but how? Kurtis explains how pilots figure out which way to point their planes.
  • 5.12: Bell 407 Helicopter: If you didn’t think there's much of a difference between flying a helicopter and a fixed wing airplane watch as Anthony puts his training wheels back on for a stab at the chopper. Wing-Walking: Gene Soucy and Teresa Stokes detail their one-of-a-kind performance.
  • 5.13: Building Engines: We take it back to basics when examining the components used to build aircraft engines so that they produce the kind of power needed to make airplanes fly. Air Tractor: From fertilizing crops to fighting wildfires, the aerial application aircraft is a highly specialized bear of a bird... not to mention, it looks super cool!

Episode guide (Season 6)[edit]

10 x 30 HD

  • 6.01: A Pilot Without Arms: We meet Jessica Cox, the world's first armless licensed pilot who has spent her whole life proving that her disability hasn’t limited her. Aircraft Profile – Pitts Special: A profile of the first aircraft designed specifically for aerobatics – the Pitts Special.
  • 6.02: L-39 and Upset Recovery: Does it sometimes feel like your airplane has a mind of its own? Well fasten your seatbelts as we go flying in the most prolific fighter jet trainer of the Soviet era in an introduction to unusual attitude and upset recovery training.
  • 6.03: Flying Again: We catch up with the Rusty Pilots Initiative as they attempt to re-ignite every pilot's fire by helping former flyers in their return to the sky. Aircraft Profile – Aviat Husky: Meet the proud owner of the dynamic Aviat Husky utility aircraft.
  • 6.04: Space Flight: A look at the history of NASA and the space program through the decades spanning from World War II through to the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle programs.
  • 6.05: Anatomy of a Journey / Ground Control: Learn about the complexities of life as a ground controller and listen in on some dialogue between air traffic control and Kurtis as he navigates through both the departure and arrival procedures within an airport. Complicated? Let's find out!
  • 6.06: World War I Aviation: Soon after the invention of the aircraft, military uses for the new flying machine came into being. Then with the dawn of the Great War, legends like the Red Baron were made, and a whole new mode of warfare was born.
  • 6.07: Aircraft Profile – Eclipse 550: Introduction to the latest in very light jets (VLJs). It's like flying your own personal rocket... with custom leather upholstery! Should You Turn Back to the Airport?: In the event of engine failure, your instinct may be to turn back for the runway – a commonly fatal move.
  • 6.08: It's the Franken-Glider! / Tuskegee Airmen: The TG-7A motorgliders are basically a combination of wings from the SGS 1-36, the tail of the SGS 2-32, and a Lycoming O-235-L2C engine on the nose. See it all come together as we meet the Team Tuskegee pilots and explain the history of the Tuskegee Airmen and their trials experienced during World War II.
  • 6.09: Skytyping: What is skytyping? See it accomplished with five aircraft flying in impressive formation, emitting biodegradable vapor puffs in a dot matrix pattern to create the world's largest billboard... in the sky. Personal Jet: The Sonex Jet started as a pet project of founder John Monett who's always wanted a personal jet, and what developed was a tiny plane with a big impact!
  • 6.10: The Beloved Cub: By popular demand we’ve tracked down the family of aircraft closest to the hearts of most aviators – the timeless Piper Cub.

Episode guide (Season 7)[edit]

6 x 30 HD

  • 7.01: We visit Canada's largest airport to look at the technology that drives air navigation systems. Then we look at one of the most affordable ways to own and enjoy an aircraft – ultralights!
  • 7.02: Part thrilling, part insanity, paragliding is one way aviation nuts get into the open air using a contraption that fits in the back of your car. Then we look into the science of applied aerodynamics.
  • 7.03: Air Rally 1 – We accompany dozens of aircraft and pilots as they island hop in the Caribbean during this 2 week aviation odyssey.
  • 7.04: Air Rally 2 – The Air Rally continues as the group is met as heroes country after country. That is, the ones who actually make it!
  • 7.05: We visit the world's most famous aviation university to explore it's storied history, many milestones, and future developments which include (get ready for it) flying cars! Then we look at arguably the most versatile little aircraft ever made – the Pipistrel Sinus.
  • 7.06: Anthony flies a simulated Cessna directly into a thunderstorm which would be certain death in real life, but not until he flies a full-motion airliner sim into one – so violent even in a sim that we may have even broken the $20 million unit!

List of Hosts[edit]

  • Anthony Nalli (Private IFR pilot)
  • Kurtis Arnold (Commercial IFR pilot, ATC)
  • Joe Ellis (Airline Captain)
  • Sara Rependa (Commercial, Multi engine, Float rating)

Guest Stars[edit]

External links[edit]