TV helicopter news coverage pioneer dies in California - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

TV helicopter news coverage pioneer dies in California

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CAMARILLO, Calif. -

The Los Angeles television engineer who won Emmy Awards for creating helicopter news coverage in 1958 has died in Southern California at 92.

The family of John D. Silva tells the Los Angeles Times that he died Nov. 27 of pneumonia complications in Camarillo.

Silva was the chief engineer for KTLA-TV when he outfitted a rented Bell helicopter with a TV camera to create a flying TV studio. The station broadcast live aerial coverage of major news events, including earthquakes, fires and freeway calamities.

Silva had to persuade KTLA executives to spend $40,000 on broadcast equipment that might not have worked. Then, he had to get a ton of TV equipment down to 368 pounds so the helicopter could lift off the ground.

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