Exclusive! America's First Transgender News Chopper Reporter

INSIDE EDITION’s Zoey Tur’s life has changed completely. She wears a dress and heels now, but there’s a passion of hers that hasn't changed, which is her love of taking to the skies and reporting breaking news stories.

She said, “The last time I was at the controls of a helicopter I was a man. My name was Bob Tur, they called me ‘Chopper Bob.’ Now, I'm a woman and my name is Zoey Tur. I’m about to make television history as the very first transgender chopper pilot, reporting exclusively for INSIDE EDITION.”

Before she can fly, she has to do some paperwork.

“This is really exciting, I’m getting my name and gender changed with the Federal Aviation Administration,” she said.

She signed her name Zoey Tur on her new license. It was official and now she is ready to go.

Tur said, “The helicopter is very similar to the one I used to fly when I was working as a news helicopter pilot covering stories from the skies in Los Angeles. I conduct a pre-flight check and all systems go! I’m so excited!”

Something else she has got to get used to is getting into the chopper in heels. Her copilot on her first trip up was Sean Miller. Until she gets a medical exam, she is not permitted to fly solo. After a final instrument check, they were off.

“We're now 1,500 feet over the city, everything is just wonderful. It feels great to be at controls of a helicopter, especially as a female,” she said.

Memories came racing back as they passed over familiar territory in the skies above Los Angeles.

Tur declared, “Right there is where I found O.J. Simpson in the white Bronco and the rest is television history.”

Taking control of the copter is like second nature. One thing she quickly discovered as a female pilot was to ditch the high heels.

Approaching Los Angeles, she spotted a storm.

“Storm clouds up ahead. We just had lightning there to the right,” she said. “As a woman, I pilot this whirlybird completely different than I did as a man. Maybe I am a little safer now and little bit more careful and not as daring.”

It’s been an exhilarating first adventure back in the skies as they bring the chopper in without a hitch.

Tur asked Sean Miller, “How did I do?”

“You did excellent, like you never been out of a helicopter,” Miller replied.

But there was a surprise waiting for her back at the hangar. There was a woman in the bright blue dress named Dana Vahle. But like Tur, she used to be a guy and he was once an arch nemesis.

Tur said, “This helicopter reminds me of the aerial duels we had.”

Dana was once an aggressive chopper pilot named Dirk.  He and Tur competed for stories like who was first at the O.J. Bronco chase.

Tur said to Dana, “Two Los Angeles aggressive, competitive, news pilots are both transgender. What are the odds?”

Dana replied, “Pretty unlikely but it did.”

“We didn’t like each other,” said Tur.

“No,” Dana replied.

Now as women, they have more in common than they could have ever imagined, including their love of flying.

Tur said, “This is Chopper Zoey, over and out! This is amazing. I want to thank INSIDE EDITION. Really, thank you for the opportunity.”

Related Coverage