ABC 15 helicopter pilot Craig Smith, who died Friday in a midair collision, covered breaking stories for the ABC15 Daybreak Team.
According to various Internet sources, Smith has worked at ABC 15 News since September 2005 and began his broadcast career in 1987 working as part of the AAA Safety Copter program in Detroit as a traffic reporter.
He began taking flying lessons and earned his commercial helicopter rating in December 1990.
Smith’s helicopter pilot career began in 1991 working for McMahon Helicopters. His flying duties included flying cargo for GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler, flying human organs and the transplant team of doctors for the University of Michigan and Henry Ford hospitals, and producing aerial videos for TV and other commercial usage.
His interest in both broadcasting and helicopters led him to a pilot/reporter opportunity with WXYZ (Channel 7) in Detroit. In addition to his duties at Channel 7, Craig provided special event coverage for WJR Radio from Jetcopter 760, and covered such events as race weekends at the Michigan Speedway and the Woodward Dream Cruise.
Craig studied criminology and communications at Washtenaw and Oakland community colleges and Oakland University in Michigan. While Craig isn’t flying Chopper15, he enjoys his antique cars and playing guitar in his rock band, Crosstown Traffic, which plays for charity.
Molly “The Flying Dog” flies with Smith in the mornings and but was not aboard the aircraft during the collision.
Molly, a west highland white terrier, was fully trained by Vladae “The Russian Dog Wizard” to ride in Chopper15 with Smith. She sits inside a small, restrained portable pet carrier.