Believe it or not, up until this morning, I had never seen Chopper 13 in person. I mean, I have seen it flying overhead, but as for actually walking up to it, never. So today, at my request, “Where’s Marty?” went to Martin State Airport to geek out and take a look–and to meet the two men who bring this airborne newsroom to life.READ MORE: 1 Dead After Boat Hit-And-Run On Magothy River, Police Search For Boat Driver
Our pilot is Captain Nathan Bosch, a former Navy lieutenant commander. Nathan flew choppers (big ones!) for the Navy for 21 years. Our cameraman is Bill “Billy Pop” Poplovski, a 23-year veteran of the WJZ newsroom.
As I’ve said before, I like taking you behind the scenes to see places you might never visit and meet people you might never encounter. So, today did not disappoint. I think there is a mistaken impression that everyone here at WJZ hangs out and sees each other regularly and that we “see it all.” That’s not the case, and I’ll share a few examples.
- I have only seen Amy Kawata in person for 15 seconds. Amy, who is a really great reporter, arrived here just before the COVID lockdown. And we were on different shifts. One time before the noon show I was walking toward the studio and Amy was walking by the other way. We were both in a hurry and exchanged passing greetings. But who knew for the next two years we’d have no contact? And even today we are on opposite shifts, doing opposite things.
- I always get asked if I’ve been to the top of the Candelabra Tower. I mean, it is right here in WJZ’s backyard, so why not? Well for starters it is not a sightseeing platform. And there is a lot of energy up there best left to the first class engineers we have here. And such is the case with Chopper 13.
It is in a secure area of Martin State Airport, so you don’t just drive by and go sightseeing. Also, what if you do drop by, but the chopper isn’t there? So, I went to the boss and said, “Let’s take you, the audience, and me to see the chopper.” Arrangements were made and the visit did not disappoint. I parked, walked around a hangar and there Chopper 13 sat, jet black and shiny.READ MORE: Maryland Weather: Storms Possible
And there stood 6-foot-4 “Billy Pop,” who I do see in the station. My first question was, “How do you fit in there?” On air, he showed us, it’s a tight fit. And he showed us how he works the camera that can read a license plate from 1,200 feet up. Then up walks Captain Nathan. His presence is friendly but with a Navy confidence. What did he do? He walked around to check his aircraft out like a pro.
If you watch our news and see those chopper shots, these video segments are for YOU! And I hope you have as much fun watching as K2 and I did bringing them to our audience!
Tomorrow we’re heading out to Monkton to stand in a field of hops! Why? Weather permitting, you will find out. Here’s a hint: what would a microbrewery need to make its brews? See ya then!
– Marty B!MORE NEWS: Early Voting For Maryland Primary Begins