News helicopters to be replaced

VH-TVG Eurocopter AS350BA Squirrel (MSN 1895) owned by Channel Seven Perth Pty Ltd, at Jandakot Airport
VH-TVG Eurocopter AS350BA Squirrel (MSN 1895) owned by Channel Seven Perth Pty Ltd, at Jandakot Airport – Sunday 8 March 2015.
Soon to be replaced by an AS350B2 Squirrel, shared between Channels 7 and 9. Photo © Keith Anderson.
VH-JSV Bell 206B-2 JetRanger II (MSN 1659) of Prestige Helicopters, on lease to Channel Nine News, at Channel Nine Studios helipad, Dianella - Tue 30 September 2014. Built in 1975, ex N90184, ZK-HTC. Channel 9 Perth has leased a number of news helicopters over the years - Bell JetRangers VH-KKY, VH-TVJ, and VH-JRI, then no helicopter for a while, before leasing a Robinson R44, VH-JIB, then Bell JetRanger VH-BPB, before VH-JSV. Photo © David Eyre
VH-JSV Bell 206B-2 JetRanger II (MSN 1659) of Prestige Helicopters, on lease to Channel Nine News, at Channel Nine Studios helipad, Dianella – Tue 30 September 2014.
Soon to be replaced by an Airbus Helicopters AS350B2 Squirrel, shared between Channels 7 and 9. Photo © David Eyre

14 September 2016 © David Eyre

Television networks Seven and Nine have started a contract for shared helicopter news operations across Australia, including Perth, thereby ceasing their own separate news helicopter operations.

An Airbus Helicopters AS350B2 Squirrel, used by Channel Seven in Brisbane (VH-BTV) will be moved to Perth later in September 2016, and shared by Seven and Nine. The helicopter will be repainted in a generic livery without logos, coloured white with a dark navy blue tailboom.

Channel 7’s Squirrel VH-TVG has had its ‘7’ logo removed from the fuselage with only the word ‘News’ remaining. Channel 9’s JetRanger VH-JSV was never painted with their logo and continues to operate from their studios in Dianella for the time being.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) also recently issued a request for tender for news helicopters and fixed wing aircraft from bases across Australia, including Perth.

ABC Perth, SBS TV and Channel Ten Perth do not currently operate a news helicopter.

History of news helicopters in Perth

TVW Channel 7 Perth previously leased a Hughes 500D (369D) VH-KSY (MSN 30-0675D) from Great Northern Helicopters from around 1981/2, until it was sold in New Zealand in 1984. Since June 1986, Aerospatiale AS350B Squirrel VH-TVG has operated on behalf of Channel Seven. It was converted to an AS350BA in 1995. When Seven relocated its studios from Dianella to Osborne Park, the helicopter moved its base to Jandakot Airport.

STW Channel 9 Perth originally had a Bell 206B JetRanger II VH-KKY (MSN 636) leased from Westcoast Helicopters (later Helicopters Australia). Later, they replaced this with VH-TVJ Bell 206B JetRanger II (MSN 761) leased from Griffin Helicopters (formerly with Channel Ten Perth as VH-AZD).  Next came VH-JRI Bell 206B JetRanger III (MSN 4234) until cost-cutting measures introduced after the purchase of WIN TV ended this contract in 2008, and they had no news helicopter for a while. They then leased a Robinson R44 Raven II, VH-JIB, then leased a Bell 206 JetRanger, VH-BPB. Their most recent helicopter was another JetRanger, VH-JSV.

NEW Channel Ten Perth first had VH-AZH Bell 206B JetRanger III (MSN 3075) leased fromGreat Northern Helicopters. This was replaced by VH-AZD Bell 206B JetRanger II (cn 761) also leased from Great Northern Helicopters, which later became VH-TVJ and went to Channel 9 Perth.Next was VH-BPB Bell 206B JetRanger III (cn 3093) leased from Griffin Helicopters. (VH-BPB was later sold to Prestige Helicopters, Geraldton, and is now leased to Channel 9 News)It was replaced by another JetRanger VH-ZMN (cn 3591) leased from HeliWest, delivered on 2 July 2010, however this helicopter was written off on 19 January 2013 in a crash at Baskerville, WA whilst filming a news story about a truck crash.VH-ZMN was replaced by another JetRanger leased from HeliWest, VH-VJG (cn 2169), which was delivered on 28 January 2013, however this was replaced by another JetRanger, VH-RPK. They are currently not using a helicopter.

ABC TV Perth and SBS TV have never owned a news helicopter in Perth.

David Eyre

President, Aviation Association of WA Inc

3 thoughts on “News helicopters to be replaced

  • September 15, 2016 at 1:12 pm
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    Hi David,
    Great site, always informative, and brilliant pics.!
    Keep it up.
    Greg

    Reply
  • September 28, 2016 at 5:03 pm
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    Hi David
    Great information to find as I looked for whether ABC WA has ever had a helicopter.
    I can picture the 7 & 9 helicopters from below, as that’s how I saw them in my childhood.
    I’m really surprised that the ABC haven’t had one in Perth!
    Is it likely the ABC will paint those they’ve tendered for with their logo? Will they be part-time or full-time, and how will they be operated? (NB I have no clue.) Different based on locations?
    Thanks again. I’ve got someone in my life who will flip when he sees this site!

    Reply
    • September 28, 2016 at 9:14 pm
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      Hi Robyn,
      Unfortunately, I have no further information regarding the ABC news helicopter/fixed wing aircraft.
      Regards,
      David

      Reply

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