bt_gazellePre-Modification (Image: Bayard Lawes)

(Info below originally compiled by Stipe Zivaljic)


SA.341G; S/N 1075; Production Year 1973

1973 – August 7 – Registered N94494 to G. D. Turner (Vought Helicopters Co.)
1973 –  September 25 – Re-registered N94494 to N777GH Holley & Beck
1977 –  March 2 – Registered to F.R.B.C. Leasing Co.
1977 –  March 14 – Leased to Mocomb Contracting Corp.
1980 – September 29 – Leased to P. Bosco & Sons, Inc. (formerly Mocomb Contracting Corp.)
1981 –  August 17 – Purchased by F.R.B.C. Leasing Co. to Moceri Management Co.
1981 –  August 19 – Purchased to Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
1981 –  November 16 – Allocated experimental and registered N52BT to Columbia Pictures, Inc.
1986 –  March 21 – Registered same registration to Mr. Michael E. Grube
1988 – August 16 – Cof Reg. cancelled. Dismantled (scrapped) for parts, w/o


Gazelle Cutaway Illustration (Go here for full size)


Pre-Production Sketch sent to Cinema Air (Image: Bayard Lawes)

‘Fictional’ Modifications;

– Bullet-proof glass
– Armour plating
– 0.787 in (20 mm) barrel cannon
– Jet turbine engine with boost capability
– FLIR (forward-looking infra-red)
– TADS (helmet-mounted target acquisition and designation system)
– PNVS (pilot night vision sensor)
– Closed circuit TV-camera with a 100:1 zoom-lens
– Twin long-range, high-sensitivity shotgun microphones
– Cabin microphone ¾” code-numbered video-system
– Three TV-monitors
– Wide-band scanner
– Computer-databank links
– Whisper-mode for silent flight, etc.


Helicopter purchased by Columbia Pictures in 1981 for approx. $190,000

During 1981, modified as per movie requirements on 1,704.7 total hours in conjunction with R. W. Martin, Inc. (Cinema Air); b) Used as modification for film & TV Series “Blue Thunder” and “Amerika, 1997” TV mini-series (pilot: Jim Gavin)

“Blue Thunder” modifications designed/fabricated by Mickey Michaels, Philip Harrison, Bill Yoak.

The ‘02’ on the engine pods was an addition by Bill Yoak to honour the fallen second prototype Apache helicopter.

(Images: Gary Mason)

Distinguishing features;

* Full mockup interior

* Registration plate N77GH visible on port side camera pod

* Flapped ‘Barrel’ fittings visible on top of both camera pods

Murphy_Steals-001Roy Scheider on set with the ‘Hero’ helicopter – note registration on port pod and missing cylindrical barrels (though mounts are clearly present)

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