ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Sky News 13 is a Bell model 206 Long Ranger III, outfitted with lots of specialized television equipment, allowing it to record and transmit both color and night-vision video using a variety of cameras. Sky News 13 is the only news helicopter in New Mexico with HD and night-vision capability.
Sky News 13 pilot-reporter Bob Martin and his crewmembers use both HD and standard definition color cameras provide normal color images of news events and scenery. On the front of the helicopter, a large ball-shaped, gyro-stabilized camera is guided via remote control by videographers inside the rear cabin of the helicopter. It can zoom in on individual people from a mile away.
The separate night-vision camera is located on the nose near the color camera, but views scenes in the infrared range, a band of light otherwise invisible to the human eye. Infrared reveals the relative ‘heat' of things. Our infrared video is black and white. Hotter things show up as bright white, while cooler items are gray. Sky News 13 crews have used night-vision to capture the progress of wildfires at night, locate smoldering wildfire areas in daylight, to cover police searches and other emergency events at night and to report on night-time rescue missions.
All of the digital video from Sky News 13 can either be recorded on board, or transmitted via a microwave antenna pod on the rear belly of the helicopter.
In addition to their news duties, Bob and other crewmembers assist emergency agencies whenever our help is requested and we are able. Public service missions have included participating in searches for lost individuals, carrying law enforcement and medical personnel during civil emergencies and assisting local fire departments during wildfires.
Sky News 13: Pilot-Reporter Bob Martin
Pilot-reporter Bob Martin won his wings as a private pilot as a 17-year old cadet in the Socorro, NM Civil Air Patrol. He went on to become a senior member in CAP and a search pilot.
Bob earned a bachelor's degree from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales with primary studies in mass communication and journalism. After college, Bob moved up to a commercial pilot's license with instrument rating and now has 8,000 hours of flying time in helicopters, single and multi-engine airplanes and both hot air and gas balloons.
The longest and most unique flight Bob has flown was across the Atlantic Ocean and back in a small Cessna 310. He was covering the transoceanic balloon flight of New Mexicans Troy Bradley and Richard Abruzzo. The journey took him and co-pilot Greg Bond from Canada to the Azores, Africa and then through Europe, Iceland and Greenland – back to New Mexico.
Bob has also made 300 parachute jumps and earned an expert parachutist license – once jumping from a hot-air balloon flying at 32,000 feet over New Mexico.
As a video journalist who usually shoots, writes and edits his own reports, Bob has covered stories on all seven continents of the planet. Much of his time has been spent covering New Mexico troops serving in war zones in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Panama.
For several years, Bob has served as secretary of the Helicopter Association International's committee for news helicopter safety, the Electronic News Gathering (ENG) Committee. He has co-organized statewide helicopter safety-conferences in New Mexico, collaborating with aircrews from New Mexico emergency services agencies.
To keep proficient on systems and emergency procedures, every year Bob travels back to Bell helicopter headquarters and spends a few days with instructors there undergoing recurrent flight and classroom training.
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