THE TV CONVERSIONS

Both airworthy helicopters slightly modified for use on the Blue Thunder TV series and more substantially for appearances in later productions before their retirement –

BLUE THUNDER (Columbia Pictures Television, 1984)

Exterior Alterations –

* Addition of emergency yellow ‘rescue’ signs above both door handles.

Interior Alterations –

* New Observer’s station – smaller TV and sensor panel in place of large monitor array.

* New collective control with ‘Turbine Boost’ switch added.

IMG_0003Notes;

Cockpit would be subject to change in the context of the stories throughout the season. Many scenes feature three people sat inside when it can only accommodate two. The episode ‘The Island’ supposedly had the ‘dual controls’ reinserted for a co-pilot.

 

MacGyver (Paramount Television 1985)

Exterior Alterations –

* All prior decals/signage removed

* Repainted Gloss black

* Camera pods replaced with flat mounts

* Engine Intakes feature red trim and “51” in place of “02” In yellow

Interior Alterations –

Unknown.

Notes;

It is unknown if this ship was the Primary or the Backup.

 

AMERIKA 1997 (ABC, 1987)

Exterior Alterations –

* Matt black paintjob, no decals present

* Missile mounts in place of camera pods

* Shorter front-mounted gatlling guns

Notes;

Both hero and backup choppers were adapted for use in this mini-series, their final screen appearance before being sold on and eventually broken down for parts/scrapped.

The pics below were shot prior to the full conversion of the ‘Hero’ Helicopter – showing the chopper painted black but with the camera pods still intact –

“Blue Thunder was at Palomar at ‘Dick Martin’s Marginal Airmotive’ run by Dick Martin…”

(Images: The Raven)

Blue_Thunder_Hangar1

Blue_Thunder_Hangar2

From David S. –

“There was also a use of the Amerika tricked out versions of the Special in a WANG Computing commercial at the time…”

DR WHO (BBC Television 2005)

Stock footage of the helicopter appears as ‘Bad Wolf One’ in the episode ‘DALEK’

Bad_Wolf1

 

Recent Posts

“Where You Look, Is Where You Hit…”

‘THE SPECIAL’

WELCOMES YOU TO 2018!

In the very same week where, 33 years ago, BLUE THUNDER made its debut on Prime-Time TV, the best website online resource for the helicopter in all media makes its comeback with an all-new look and plenty of new content –

While posts were fewer than anticipated in 2017, the site pages (SPECIAL BASE) have been regularly updated – there you will find constant additions to the gallery and a revised page on the elusive Casio AA-85 Digital Watch as worn by Roy Scheider in the 1983 movie.  The collection has also continued to expand with the addition of some original artefacts from the TV show that will be showcased soon..!

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all the fans who have been in touch and left comments since the site began, your contributions continue to be incredibly valuable and often lead to great things, a great example of which is below courtesy of Thomas Dozier.  Please enjoy the feature on his incredible one-of-a-kind Helmet project and standby for more to come…!

“Gentlemen, this is your Harrison Fire Control Helmet. This baby…is the heart of your system.”

“This was built from the same model HGU Series Dual Visor Flight Helmet used as the actual prop in the movie. I added the rear control box that, in fiction, is supposed to be part of the Heads-Up Display (HUD) system. There is a VCR type jack in the back along with a removable cable so it could be displayed it with or without it.
The boom mic was quite the adventure. After months of searching I realised there are no three section boom mics and the filmmakers custom made them for the film. Both the Blue Thunder helmet as well as the regular flight helmets in the film have these custom made boom mics. The first two sections are original vintage parts that match the film’s helmet exactly, and then like the prop makers, I had to scratch build the front section. I was able to locate the exact vintage microphone as was used in the film.

The helmet has a new old stock original chin strap, not the new lesser quality ones, as well as a new old stock vintage leather roll also. It also features new old stock earphones. Both the earphones and boom mic work so this is an actual working flight helmet.

The color is a dead-on match which I was worried about as it’s not a common blue.  Needless to say it does not have any targeting features…”

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