Inside the Story: Sky Vision shows new side of N. Nevada & Tahoe

If you've watched News 4 in recent weeks, you've probably noticed the remarkable coverage brought to you by our Sky Vision drone.

They are images that literally make you stop and stare.

It could be the majestic beauty of sun up at Donner Lake, or dramatic shots of the flood damage in the North Valleys.

Either way, the footage taken by our Sky Vision team certainly tell a better story.

“This just brings it to a whole new level. You can take the passion of photography and bring it into the realm of flying,” says pilot Brian Kulpa.

Kulpa and Chief photographer Jeff Deitch are not new to the game of television news coverage, with nearly 30 years in the business between them.

Their experience in news helped them immediately recognize the significance of their new tool.

“You've seen our images, the flooding, the mudslides, just the beauty of Arrowcreek,” says Deitch. “You just can't get that from a ground camera.”

Kulpa adds, “Every time I put the drone up in the air, it's something new every day. You get to see something you just wouldn't see on the ground.”

Bringing viewers these images wasn't easy. Both Brian and Jeff received extensive training and flight hours to get licensed, and flying Sky Vision is a two-person job at all times. One man on the camera, and another on the drone.

“You basically have to take the knowledge test of a private pilot in order to become a UAS pilot, says Kulpa. “You have to know airspace, you have to know weather, and you have to know sectional charts.”

You also have to work cooperatively with emergency crews and first responders. An example happened with the road washout of Highway 50, where CHP technicians used our footage to assess the damage instead of putting their own crews in harm’s way.

“They can effectively plan where they're going to send their people without risking injury,” explains Kulpa.

With Sky Vision, the sky's the limit with our coverage, as are the benefits to our viewers.

“This is what they make movies with,” says Deitch. "This is 57 miles an hour, 400 feet off the ground. I mean, it's amazing.”

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