Film and TV industry remembers pilot Gary Ticehurst

22 August, 2011 by Brendan Swift

UPDATE August 24, 2011: A memorial service for Gary Ticehurst will be held in Sydney at Rushcutters Bay Park, near the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, on Tuesday, August 30 at 11.30am. The service is open to anyone who would like to attend and is being held by the family and the ABC.

A reel of Ticehurst's feature film work is being compiled by Matt Graham and will be screened at the memorial service. He is trying to locate images (still or moving) of Gary and his work. If you have contributions, these can be sent to Matt Graham, who can be contacted on 0430 572 770.


August 22, 2011: Pilot Gary Ticehurst played a prominent role in the film and television industries for decades before last week’s tragic helicopter crash took his life alongside ABC journalist Paul Lockyer and cameraman John Bean.

Ticehurst spent many years covering the Sydney to Hobart yacht race with the ABC, playing a significant role in the rescue of 14 crew members during the tumultuous 1998 race, while his aerial skills were also employed on several major Hollywood films shot in Australia including Mission Impossible II, The Matrix Reloaded, Stealth, Superman Returns and Nim’s Island.

He recently worked on upcoming Australian film The Hunter. The film posted a message about the tragic loss on its Facebook page last week.

“Gary flew over some of the most remote areas of Tasmania for the inspiring aerial photography featured in The Hunter. A great guy and very highly respected. On behalf of all The Hunter cast and crew we pass on our deepest sympathy to Gary's family and friends.”

Cinematographer Stephen Windon ACS (The Pacific, Fast Five) said he began flying with Ticehurst some 32 years ago, originally as an ABC news cameraman when the broadcaster acquired its first Bell Jet Ranger helicopter.

"Throughout the following years I spent countless hours on TV commercials and mini series and earlier this year on Stephan Elliott's A Few Best Men shooting in the Blue Mountains with him," Windon said.

"Having flown with film pilots all over the world, Gary was simply the best; he made us cinematographers look good and he was nicest man to be with or to sit alongside whilst travelling to a location or sitting behind him in the helicopter as he lined up a shot. I will miss him."

Director Bruce Hunt (Australia, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark) wrote a tribute to Ticehurst, which is published in full at Campaign Brief.

"Australian and Hollywood films are littered with his beautiful work, the most talked about scenes, the most memorable moments," Hunt wrote. "As Gary was unquestionably the best: warm, enthusiastic as the day I met him 15 years ago, trusted and true. Unforgettable."

Ticehurst, who was 60, had spent almost 40 years as a chopper pilot, according to ABC News, and is survived by his wife Therese.

An Australian Transport Safety Bureau enquiry into the helicopter crash, which occurred near Lake Eyre in South Australia, is continuing, according to the SMH.