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Thread: Crash of the KODABIRD, 10/14/64

  1. #1
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    Crash of the KODABIRD, 10/14/64

    On that date, KODA's traffic helicopter crashed, killing the pilot William 'Billy' Holmes and reporter Ted Carr. (KODA, 1010, Houston, now KLAT, La Tremenda).

    It wasn't the first helicopter used by a Houston station but it may have been the first dedicated to traffic reports. Initial reports were that it was shot down because of loud pops that were heard before it plummeted to the ground but a lengthy investigation determined due to a design flaw the rotor froze and the blades snapped off, accounting for the pops.

    It has been claimed that it was the first traffic helicopter anywhere and the crash the first involving a media operated chopper. Can anyone offer any evidence yay or nay?

    There's a pic on my blog, toward the bottom of the main column. Grady McAlister's air check site contains some air checks from that time period, though not the actual crash. He's trying to keep everything on one page and they were among the first a/cs added and are very far down the page.

    http://vasthead.com/Radio/radio_works.html
    http://houstonradiohistory.blogspot.com/ - The Houston Radio History blog

  2. #2
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    Re: Crash of the KODABIRD, 10/14/64

    Quote Originally Posted by hrhwebmaster
    It has been claimed that it was ... the first involving a media operated chopper. Can anyone offer any evidence yay or nay?
    WGN Chicago's Leonard Baldy was killed preparing for a report when the station's traffic helicopter crashed on the afternoon of May 2, 1960.

  3. #3
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    Re: Crash of the KODABIRD, 10/14/64

    An ironic twist to the sad news of the WGN crash was that news of the crash was 1st reported by WLS. This was on the historic first day of their format flip from farm and block programmed station to Top 40 - May 2, 1960.

  4. #4
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    Re: Crash of the KODABIRD, 10/14/64

    Quote Originally Posted by Australian Whine
    Quote Originally Posted by hrhwebmaster
    It has been claimed that it was ... the first involving a media operated chopper. Can anyone offer any evidence yay or nay?
    WGN Chicago's Leonard Baldy was killed preparing for a report when the station's traffic helicopter crashed on the afternoon of May 2, 1960.
    Thanks. I didn't think the former claim was very likely but thought the second might have been. That's even before KODA-AM was on the air.
    http://houstonradiohistory.blogspot.com/ - The Houston Radio History blog

  5. #5
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    Re: Crash of the KODABIRD, 10/14/64

    Quote Originally Posted by RememberWHEN
    An ironic twist to the sad news of the WGN crash was that news of the crash was 1st reported by WLS. This was on the historic first day of their format flip from farm and block programmed station to Top 40 - May 2, 1960.
    ...the new air staff at WLS had been cracking jokes in the days approaching the format flip to the effect that WLS "will knock that WGN helicopter right out of the sky" (source: airchecks from the WLS 25th Anniversary of Rock 'n Roll Reunion broadcasts)...
    King Daevid MacKenzie

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