WISH-TV launches AVI8OR into the skies over central Indiana

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Today marks another first from WISH-TV’s 24-Hour News 8 as the station launches the first-ever news gathering drone in Indiana.

“WISH-TV continues to be a leader in innovation and the go-to news source for central Indiana viewers,” said Les Vann, WISH-TV president and general manager. “This latest news gathering technology breaks new ground, literally providing viewers a whole new perspective of our coverage.”

WISH-TV’s high definition drone, named AVI8OR, is the first federally-sanctioned quadcopter aircraft cleared for media use in Indiana. The craft can be used to provide LIVE aerial footage or recorded video, both providing viewers a new view and a better visual understanding of stories covered by 24-Hour News 8.

WISH-TV News Director Elbert Tucker says it’s great to be the first and only television station in the state actively using this type of drone. “I’m thrilled that months of training and preparation have paid off with WISH-TV being able to unveil this technology. AVI8OR’s debut marks the latest chapter in 24-Hour News 8’s long standing commitment of being on the cutting edge, always looking for new ways of providing better storytelling for our viewers.”

Media drones must be operated by a licensed pilot alongside with a trained observer, and requires strict adherence to Federal Aviation Administration standards and guidelines. Chopper 8 Chief Pilot Keith McCutchen is the licensed pilot behind the AVI8OR controls. He spent weeks training both in Colorado and here at home.

“I’m very excited to be able to fly it, bringing this type of coverage to our viewers,” said McCutchen. “It required a lot of training on both the technology side as well as learning all the new FAA regulations.” McCutchen jokes, “I had no idea initially it would be more difficult to fly than a helicopter.”

WISH-TV’s AVI8OR uses a DJI Inspire 1 model, which provides 360 degree views from high above. The FAA granted Media General, WISH-TV’s parent company, the ability to fly that specific drone for news gathering purposes.

AVI8OR makes its debut on Tuesday, November 10, but viewers will get a chance to see aerial coverage provided by the craft all this week. AVI8OR will provided live images over Crown Hill’s “Field of Valor” and “National Cemetery,” during WISH-TV’s day-long coverage devoted to “Hoosier Heroes” on Veterans’ Day, Wednesday, November 11.

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