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CTV Toronto adds HD-capable ENG helicopter

CTV in Toronto has received a new HD ENG helicopter from Kitchener Aero Avionics (KAAV).

The helicopter is the fourth KAAV has modified for CTV and the first HD-capable ENG helicopter for the Canadian broadcasters. According to Scott Gibson, manager of engineering projects at CTV, the network uses its helicopters about 600 flight hours per year.

CTV is using the new HD helicopter in Toronto. The chopper has been in service since the end of January and replaces an ENG helicopter that’s been in continuous service since 2003.

The new CTV ENG helicopter is based on a Bell 206L-4 that was delivered to KAAV last fall. The ENG equipment integrated into the copter includes a Flir UltraMedia HD camera; MRC Strata PTX-PRO microwave system; NAT AA97-CTV custom audio/ICS system; three Iconix HD cameras positioned front, aft talent and in the tail; and two Motorola two-way radios. The cockpit also was upgraded with a Garmin G500H flight display system, which also displays ENG video to ease pilot workload. KAAV handled the engineering, design and installation, and the project took four months to complete.

Like all other CTV ENG projects, the new chopper project was overseen by Gibson. The new ENG helicopter employs the latest generation of equipment, giving the chopper greater capability and improved usability. For example, the Evertz HD2020 provides all of the switching and processing of audio and video in the helicopter, Gibson said.

“In the past we would had several pieces of equipment to perform the functions that the 2020 is doing,” he said.