KUTV takes news helicopter out of service

Published August 18, 2009 3:51 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Hard times have caused KUTV Channel 2 to give up its helicopter for aerial shots.

The local CBS affiliate did not renew its lease with the helicopter to save on leasing fees and the cost of storing it in a hanger, said KUTV's general manager David Phillips. "I'd much rather lose that than people," he said. "These are tough times."

But the station still will rent a helicopter if the need arises, he said.

In the meantime, KUTV has its "Chopper 2," a Harley Davidson motorcycle with a sidecar converted into a swiveling camera mount and seat for a camera operator. The motorcycle is used for promotional events for the station, but Phillips said it also can be used to help cover traffic accidents, weather stories and parades.

Currently, KSL Channel 5, the No. 1-rated local newscast, is the only local station leasing a helicopter for regular use.

Vince Horiuchi