One of the major complaints pilots have about television shows depicting aviation is that they often get it wrong. In Hollywood, airplane engines suddenly quit with alarming frequency and pilots attempt to fix the problem by holding the stick full aft until impact.
Don’t you wish for a TV show made for aviators by aviators? Introducing “The Aviators,” a Canadian-based program slated to premiere on Public Broadcasting Stations in Canada and the United States in September. “The show is essentially a magazine show of aviation stories,” explained Anthony Nalli, executive producer. “We like to say that it is for anyone who has ever gazed skywards.”
Stories will run the gamut from famous pilots, interesting aircraft, and avionics, to safety and training techniques.
“In a half hour weekly episode we will have three, four or five segments,” he continued, noting the shows are shot and broadcast in high def. “Each segment will be about five minutes in length. We want to keep it interesting. We don’t want to talk about the one master switch in an aircraft for five minutes, for example, but you could talk about the latest in GPS technology. We might talk about a new model of GPS for four or five minutes, then move on to something completely new, like a profile of Julie Clark or Patty Wagstaff.”
We caught up with “The Aviators” at Sun ‘n Fun, where the crew was busy collecting stories. The crew know what to look for because most are pilots, Nalli said. “Our creator, John Lovelace, is a pilot, our directors are pilots, some of our shooters (photographers) are pilots. It is in our blood.”
Producers hope the TV show will inspire more people to become involved in aviation, said Nalli, who holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating. “The sad fact is that aviation numbers have been in decline,” he said. “Organizations like AOPA have been working to make the general public aware of the great things that general aviation brings to the community and the great things, in general, that aviation can bring to an individual. We want to fulfill that mission ourselves. We want to reach those people who are interested in aviation but who haven’t taken that first step yet. I am 43 now,” he continued. “I learned to fly when I was 35 and I have wanted to fly my whole life, so why did it take me until I was 35 to do something about it? How many people are out there like me and in the same boat?”
Nalli speculates that part of the reason people don’t take the next step is because aviation is not in the front of their minds all the time. “They see an airplane and think it’s fantastic, then the feeling goes away,” he mused. “We don’t want that feeling to go away. We want to re-spark it week after week and reach the people who aren’t pilots yet but have that twinkle in their eye. We want them to go out to the airport and take that intro flight. We know we will hook them right then and there with that intro flight.”
“The Aviators” also will also have an Internet presence, Nalli noted. “The principal stories will be on the television show but we will also have a website so if there is something that you missed part of or want to get more information on we will have clips from the show,” he said. “We also plan to have an online magazine that will expand the stories and correspond with the show on a monthly basis with lots and lots of photographs. The online magazine will be print on demand, so if you are the type of person who needs to hold it in your hand you can subscribe and it will show up in your mailbox every month.”
According to Nalli, the show’s website is already receiving 500,000 to 600,000 hits per month. “There definitely is a hunger out there for this kind of thing,” he said.
The stations that will carry the show have not been determined yet. Nalli suggests checking the website for details as the premiere date gets closer, or checking with your local PBS affiliate.
For more information: TheAviators.tv.