KOAT-TV Hughes 500C Helicopter
First Albuquerque Visit: 1980
The Hughes 500, a civilian version of the US Army’s OH-6A helicopter, was produced by Hughes Helicopters beginning in 1967. Many models of the 500 have been produced, often featuring a more powerful engine or a five-bladed main rotor in place of the original four-blade counterpart. In January of 1984, Hughes Helicopters was acquired by the American aircraft manufacturer McDonnell Douglas. Then starting in August 1985, the 500E and 530F models were rebranded as the MD 500E and MD 530F. The MD 500 has since been commonly used for utility work and has also proven to be popular with law enforcement agencies. Production of the 500 has continued with McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems, and subsequently MD Helicopters.
KOAT-TV (channel 7) is a television station in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is the local ABC affiliate. Owned by Hearst Television, the station maintains studios in Northeast Albuquerque, and its transmitter is located on Sandia Crest, northeast of Albuquerque.
KOAT-TV was the second station to broadcast in Albuquerque, signing on in October 1953 as one of two new TV stations in the city in the same month. KOAT-TV’s newscasts have generally led the Albuquerque–Santa Fe market in viewership since the mid-1970s.
KOAT-TV used this Hughes 500C helicopter, N-9186-F, to provide aerial new coverage for the city of Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico. Aspen Helicopters, based at the former west side 7-Bar Airport, operated the aircraft under contract beginning in April of 1980. This was one in a series of helicopters that the local TV stations would use through the years.
The photos are of a Hughes 500 that flew for KGGM-TV at same time.
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