Chopper 10

Ice Causes 168 Bypass Shutdown

February 9th, 2011 at 6:32 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Chopper 10, News, Personalities, Traffic, Weather

I was in Chopper 10 and was over a truck fire in Chesapeake on the 168 bypass early this morning that had the bypass down to one lane. That had traffic backed up to the bridge over the intercoastal.

As if that was not bad enough, when the fire department sprayed water to put the truck fire out, the water ran into the roadway. The temperature was right at freezing. The water froze on the roadway and that was when the real problems started.

After the lanes of traffic were reopened, two pick-up trucks hit the patch of ice and lost control, spinning off into the ditch on the right side. Fortunately there were no injuries reported. As photojournalist Tom Marks and I were covering the spin outs yet another truck hit the ice and slid into the truck that already was on the side, causing the driver to run for his life..

The police and fire department staff on scene realized what was happening. They stopped all traffic and slowed traffic to one lane until the ice melted. Battlefield Blvd. remained backed up as the alternate and the bypass were backed up for miles, causing many commuters to be late this morning.  CLICK HERE to see the video.

I will be up in the morning to help guide you through any problems that the expected snow may bring. Please slow down and take your time. Otherwise you may make it on the morning show the hard way.

Chopper John


Suffolk Peanut Festival 2010

October 11th, 2010 at 7:42 am by under 10 On Your Side, Chopper 10, Personalities, Uncategorized

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone at the festival. I had a great time on Saturday and met some very nice people.
Meeting some fans of Chopper 10

It was a lot of fun meeting the future helicopter pilots that may be flying around Hampton Roads.

Here is a shot of some Chopper 10 fans that got a close look at the best equipped television helicopter in the U.S.

Once again I want to say “  Thank You”  to everyone that stopped by.

Chopper John


Water, Water, Everywhere…..

September 30th, 2010 at 1:06 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Chopper 10, Personalities, Uncategorized, Weather

As I drove in this morning at 3:30 am leaving Virginia Beach with only light sprinkles I thought to myself that I might be able to get airborne to cover the morning commute. But as I crossed the Broad Creek Bridge on I-264 I ran into a solid wall of water and quickly realized that flying this morning was going to be a NO GO.

When I arrived at WAVY and was joined by Chopper 10 photographer Tom Marks, we got into a live truck and hit the roads. As most of you know Virginia Beach Blvd and Tidewater Drive is a trouble spot every time we get any hard rains. So that was going to be our first stop, but it turned into our only stop for the morning shows.

When we arrived, there were cars making their way through the shallow water at the intersection with little problem. But by the time the first live report came along the water had started its rise. Within the time span of only 30 minutes the entire intersection was flooded with water from a couple of inches to at least a foot or more. That however did not stop traffic from making the attempt. Some made it but most were not as lucky.

Here is some food for thought, if you can’t see the markings on the street don’t make the attempt to drive through it. Because if you do, as I showed you this morning, you could be in for some very expensive repairs.

If you are one of the unfortunate ones that learned this the hard way mark it down to lesson learned.

I will be up – weather permitting – this afternoon to show you the aftermath so look to WAVY-TV to be on your side with the best coverage of this very unusual storm.

Take Care,

Chopper John


Up, up and away to high school football games!

September 14th, 2010 at 12:15 pm by under Chopper 10, Personalities, Sports, Uncategorized

It’s my favorite time of the year! I helped kickoff the 2010 season of Friday Night Flights on September 10. The weather was perfect!

Putting on the safety vest

Chopper 10 pilot John Massey helped me get safely buckled in which included putting on a new vest.

Aerial shot over Norfolk

I snapped some pictures from the sky with my camera and my phone. Photojournalist Tom Marks got gorgeous  video shots from the air and on the ground once we landed.  We tossed out little WAVY footballs to the crowds.

Look at that arm!

Young and old are always trying to catch the souvenirs or simply beg for us to hand them one on the sidelines. Our first stop this year was Bayside High School.

Chillin' with the Bayside kids

They were taking on Cox and the students wore their best red shirts to create a ‘red out’ kinda like the big colleges do on game day with their team color.

Proud Bayside HS Students

Lots of spirit from the cheerleaders, band and student council members who led the rest of the fans in cheering on the Marlins to a win at home.

Sunset over Virginia Beach from Chopper 10

Next stop, the Sportsplex for the Landstown game against Green Run. That place is so big it always looks somewhat empty even when there are a lot of folks there.

The Landstown cheerleaders told me about the great things happening in the school including it was ranked by Newsweek magazine as one of the best high schools in the nation.

Nicole with Landstown cheerleaders at the Sportsplex

They told me about Project Graduation and shared with me the special wristbands every student will receive this school year in honor of Landstown’s 10 year anniversary.

Landstown 10 year anniversary wristbands

Can you believe it’s been 10 years? Really makes me feel old considering that school didn’t even exist when I went to Kempsville.

Our final stop was the Tallwood at Ocean Lakes game.  I was really excited to land here because the school officials set me up with some awesome stories. First, I met Danny Alexander.

Danny Alexander, Ocean Lakes football manager

He’s been a manager for the Dolphins for a few years now and he takes his job very seriously keeping the players hydrated and with that million dollar smile-

Nicole with Danny Alexander, Ocean Lakes football manager

I’m sure he always keeps them in good spirits! One guy Danny helps on the sidelines is #50, Josh Mann.

Ocean Lakes football player Josh Mann with his winning shoe design

Josh just won a nationwide competition with Nike in its shoe design competition.  He’s started every game at Ocean Lakes and he has a 4.2 GPA! And get this- I remember when Josh’s dad, Brian, was a star athlete at Kellam High School back in the day.  His parents and his teachers and classmates sure are proud of him!

Check out all of my photos, WAVY’s photos and viewers photos from Friday Night Flights on our Flickr pages. Don’t forget to send us your pix from the games throughout the season by texting or emailing them to reportit@wavy.com

It was great meeting new friends and seeing old friends on the sidelines at the season kickoff and co-hosting the show with Bruce Rader again!


RIDE ALONG IN CHOPPER 10 !!!!

August 5th, 2010 at 4:31 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Personalities

 If you have ever wondered what I see in Chopper 10 and how to see what it is like to come with me. Just go to www.wavy.com/subindex/on_your_side/chopper_10. There you will see around town with chopper 10 just give it a click.

You can also go to my face book page by giving the photo above a click.

See you in the skies over Hampton Roads…

Chopper John


Back from the Bell Training Academy

March 11th, 2010 at 2:26 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Chopper 10, Personalities

Last week I attended the Bell Training Academy in Texas. This is for my recurrent training in Chopper 10, instrument and night vision.

What does this involve?

During this training, I practiced all the emergency procedures that I must have committed to memory.  Because in the event of an in flight problem is not the time to break out the operator’s manual. I like to say this is the fun part. I go up with a flight instructor and do all the engine out maneuvers to the ground. That means that I will roll off the throttle and land the aircraft without power. Yes, the blades keep turning even when the engine quits; this happens much like a pinwheel, the air passing back up through the rotor system in decent keeps the rotor speed at operating speed until touchdown.

All current Federal Aviation Regulations are covered as well as weight and balance and performance. At the end of that phase of the training is a check ride in the aircraft and a written exam. Both were passed without a problem. After thirty years of flying you might think I would have it down pat.

The next phase is an instrument refresher. This training is so that if necessary I am able to fly Chopper 10 without being able to see outside the cockpit.

Then, a Night Vision Goggles training refresher. Chopper 10 is the only TV News with this technology in the U.S.

That gives me the ability to conduct flights at night under the safest manner possible. The NVG are same type that the military uses and allows me to see at night under conditions that to fly unaided would not be possible.

Then two more check rides with instructors and a final course exam.

I completed all this in the time span of only one week with the best instructors and at the best training academy in the world, Bell Helicopters.

Now that I am back, look for Chopper 10 in the skies over Hampton Roads to help guide you through your morning commute and covering breaking news faster than anyone else.

See you in the sky..

Chopper John