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Birds of Prey review

10 January 2014

Birds of Prey review

Birds of Prey, 1973, made for TV movie, 1 hour 21 minutes

Birds of Prey, 1973, made for TV movie, 1 hour 21 minutes

Birds of Prey, 1973, made for TV movie, 1 hour 21 minutes

This movie follows an oft told Hollywood story plot — the one of the lone hero pursuing right against the insurmountable. But it is the telling of the story which entertains just as a magician does though we know it is not magic. It is about the way of it, not the why of it.

This tale is told with helicopters and the flying of them as well as the scenery. Starring David Janseen as hero Harry Walker, Ralph Meeker as former Flying Tiger buddy to Walker now a technocrat Jim McAndrew and Elayne Heilveil as hostage Teresa Jane.

Traffic reporter Walker spies a bank robbery in progress and is soon in pursuit of the escape car flying his Hughes 500 down the streets of Salt Lake City — most often below street lamp level and even through underpasses (and NOT at a walking pace). Later we see him flying within and through hangars at former Wendover AAF* as well as knocking a bad guy off his feet with the left skid (great stunt work as it looks real, no CGI and no bad timing such as the robber falling much before arrival of the helicopter).

Soon, Walker is in pursuit of a mean looking “bad guy” helicopter. Wasp-like it looks like an Aérospatiale Aloutte II but is in fact a high altitude hybrid of an Aloutte II and Aloutte III made for hot as well as high altitude conditions. This variant is the Aérospatiale SA315B Lama and is perfect for flying in Utah.

Once the chase is joined by Walker they are quickly flying within the red rock country found in the Moab area (in fact, Deadhorse Point is mentioned which neighbors Moab). The bare canyons are splendid with their red colored quartz sandstone strata as well as buff colored ash fall sandstone. The movie pilots of both the Lama and Hughes fly a mere few feet or less above salt flats and boulder strewn stream beds as well as landing on remote isolated canyon tops. The helicopters are made to dance and pirouette as well as fly close along steep canyon walls — the flying and the geology are spectacular to see!

Filming such as this is not likely to soon be seen as CGI is safer, and more predictable to schedule, we are afraid to say. See Birds of Prey for the treasured national scenery and minutes upon minutes of excellent helicopter piloting in two remarkable aircraft types.

As an aside, since Birds of Prey was filmed in the early 1970s, the cars are big (really big) and many of the hair cuts are either shaggy or feathered — all, perhaps, uncool today but the rage of the time (such is the fickle nature of fashion).


Wendover AAF was also used in the filming of ConAir and, more historically, served as the training base for Silverplate (the training of the B-29 crews in World War II to drop the war-ending atomic weapons) as well as Historic Wendover Airfield Museum.

* Wendover

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 10 January 2014 10:08

    If you can find DVD……$70+ !!!!

    • travelforaircraft permalink
      10 January 2014 10:13

      Or Netflix nearly for free 😉

  2. 18 January 2014 12:28

    I look forward to this one, sounds like spectacular flying and scenery, thanks for the review!

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