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Engineer Who Pioneered Live Television Helicopter Coverage Dies In Ventura County

Posted on Friday, December 7, 2012 12:23pm


An Emmy-winning engineer who pioneered the use of helicopters for live television news coverage has died in Ventura County.

John Silva was chief engineer at KTLA in 1958 when he outfitted a rented helicopter with a camera, and gear to allow live television broadcasts.

It was a huge technical challenge, because he, and other engineers had to figure out a way to strip down the thousands of pounds of equipment then needed for remote telecasts down to a few hundred pounds which could be carried on a helicopter.

The technology worked, and KTLA was the first station in the world to provide live aerial coverage of breaking events like fires, floods, and riots.

Silva died in Camarillo, as a result of complications from pneumonia. He was 92 years old.


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