Tuesday, 29 August 2017

N2044C and N2766Y two unsung heroes of hollywood

N2044C and N2766Y are just two of the unsung heroes of Hollywood. From moving the crew around on locations, filming the stars from above to actually starring on the big screen them selves in the 80's and 90's. But they appear to have an interesting kinda history we are attempting to explore.

Most airwolf fans will remember N2044C as doms Santini Air JetRanger which was used throughout season 1 to 3 on the airwolf tv series, both on screen and off screen for filming. Season 4 did not use N2044C and in turn used a different helicopter painted up to look like it. Though clearly they also had access to the 1 to 3 seasons worth of footage, i wold guess the stars on the tail will be a dead give away to what is season 1-3 film stock and what is the season 4 variant.

N2044C JetRanger III as used on Airwolf Season 1-3 (1983-1986)
It also featured in other shows such as The A-Team (before its use in airwolf)  notice the F.A.A registration number on the belly and the side. The A-Team episode is from September 1983, So you'd assume this was it's paint job for a lot of stuff before airwolf was filmed. What you see below became what you see above. So howling mad murdock of the a-team actually flew N2044C before dominic santini lol. It was also used in an earlier A-Team episode, Season 1 Episode 10 One More Time

N2044C JetRanger III as seen on The A-Team Season 2 Episode 1 (1983)
It often has confused and conflicting listings on many helicopter information sites about tv / film use and gets mixed up with this one, seen in airwolf "one way express" and other tv shows.

N2766Y as seen on Airwolf Season 1 One Way Express
Here is another shot of it in one way express

N2766Y as seen on Airwolf Season 1 One Way Express
Who ever owned N2766Y must have made some money with it once N2044C got the santini air paint job in the later months of 1983. I'm unsure if they ever thought about this when they painted N2044C up as "Santini Air" but I'm surprised they did not realise the S.A paint job removed N2044C ability to be used for other shots to tie in with any similar Ariel footage. In turn making all the footage of it already owned by studios pretty much useless, that is unless they hired the owner of N2766Y to get other scenes to tie in, or would be forced to use peel paint on another chopper.

Another misc airwolf link in that A-Team 2x01 episode is it features Michael Halsey who played Peter MacGregor Moore on Airwolfs "Echoes from the Past" and also later he starred as Dunkirk in Airwolfs  "HX-1". 

He also stared as an Immortal in the Highlander Series
It was also often stated on a heli list films site that N2044C was visually used on season 3 episode 1 of "The Fall Guy" Devil's Island release date 1983 (that is not true) You can plainly see in the fall guy that the number is N2766Y and not N2044C.


N2766Y  The Fall Guy Devil's Island release date 1983
N2766Y  The Fall Guy Devil's Island release date 1983
It is stated it was also been used on the fall guy season 1 episode Three for the Road,
I have yet to find an image from that episode though, so i have no idea if that is true.

It is also said that it was visually seen on a film called "Blue Thunder" from 1983 but had police markings  (is this really N2044C) ??

N2044C? on Blue Thunder Movie (1983)
 They had a few police helicopters on that film, One was N25OCA

This is N25OCA
Along with a second Police 206 with no spotlight N23OCA (they also had another 206, white with a brown trim) Which could be what you can see in the one way express image above "behind dom while dom is working on N2766Y"

 But did santinis jet ranger chase blue thunder along the L.A viaduct... ?

This is a specific list of aircraft flown during blue thunder filming

Aerospatiale SA.341G Gazelle c/n 1075, N77GH
Aerospatiale SA.341G Gazelle c/n 1066, N37LR
Bell 206B Jet Ranger c/n 3363, N2044C
Bell 206B Jet Ranger c/n 2615, N250CA
Bell 206B Jet Ranger c/n 2779, N230CA
Bell 206B Jet Ranger c/n 2840, N1068A
Bell 206B Jet Ranger c/n 3264, N200NP
Hughes 500D c/n 129-0624D, N58428
Eurocopter AS-350D AStar

So N2044C is their in the list, but i think it was mainly used for filming and only painted up just in case any of the other mounted cameras catch it in shot.

It was also visually used on a film called "Eraser" from 1996 but had an NYPD paint job


Hard to really miss with the number down the side


The question is did you ever spot anything else similar within that a-team episode that would also help make it possible to use the Helicopter footage from airwolfs "one way express" along with this a-team "Diamonds 'n' Dust" helicopter footage and its appearances in the fall guy in a 4th production ?
 
Stock footage for peppard? lol
Chances are if your wearing one of them jackets its because your stunt doubles going up in a helicopter or riding in a jeep that is going to flip over.

They use peel paint a lot in hollywood not only to disguise how it looks but also to help it match the role of another helicopter which footage already exists for from previous film or tv productions. They often also have the actors wear similar clothes too so any other distant camera footage can also be used in other productions.

So imagine having something like this to hand

Bell 206B Jet Ranger c/n 2799, N230CA
With peel paint that can pretty much be made to match any 206 Ariel film stock, swung around by a crane. Certainly a hell of a lot cheaper than the price of fuel & you could lift from just the air frame to get below side shots and tie into stock footage. peel paint is a quick way to change the look.

That one strapped to the container has a fairly impressive "On Screen" presence regardless of its off screen camera work with movies and tv including but not limited to the following list.

Blue Thunder, False LAPD livery
Close Encounters of the Third Kind, US Army colors (as N2774L)
Commando, US Army colors; false registration O-258GB, General Kirby arrives in this helicopter at the beginning of the film.
Darkman, Strack Industries livery.
Darkman II: The Return of Durant, Strack Industries livery.
Ghost Warrior, False LAPD livery.
Lethal Weapon.
MacGyver.
Uncommon Valor.

It's tail number as of February 2017 is now attached to a 4 seater fixed wing plane.

The original N230CA will no doubt carry on being filmed from one side & dragged through tunnels and across the floor on the other side for many years to come.

So what happened to dominics N2044C and that N2766Y (which you may noticed N2766Y is almost always filmed from Below in things meaning it was often probably the only helicopter on set) ?

We'll we are unsure about N2766Y, but we know doms N2044C was seen wearing the Fox News channel colours and being used for traffic reports and other news stories. As of 2017 it is now used for agricultural work such as crop spraying.


N2044C