Tributes pour in for tragic loss of ACS colleagues

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Andy Taylor ACS Remembers Gary Ticehurst

I heard the news late last night after the ACS HQ drop in, I’m completely shattered. Very, very sad, I knew them all… fantastic blokes!

I must have spent hundreds of hours in that chopper with Gazza over the past 25 years. He was the most experienced, skilled and safest chopper pilot I’ve ever flown with. Like many others, I would trust him with my life.

I helped talk Gary into joining and sponsoring the ACS a few years ago because he was an expert in aerial photography. He was responsible for constructing and executing all of our aerial sequences at the ABC. With little more than a nod and a wink to the cameraman (and a “harness secure?”), he would manoeuvre into position, then literally ‘fly the shot’ like some kind of magical camera platform. Beautiful creative shots that usually developed into breathtaking and picturesque reveals, sometimes tracking around the subject at very low levels. He would occasionally cue the cameraman to slowly zoom as he slowed the chopper to a hover, but generally all we needed to do was hold the camera as steady as possible, watch the horizon and hit the record button.

He was funny bloke too, I’ll always remember the way he would hold the ‘transmit’ button down on the internal chopper comms, just so we could hear him chuckle to himself as he flew along, often laughing at his own jokes. The Silver Fox was the best!

Andy Taylor ACS

Tribute from Geoffrey Simpson ACS

Dear Ron,
What a bloody week! Three terrific Australians killed long before their time.

Gary Ticehurst has been a part of my life for the last six years. He is the guy who landed at Black Dog Creek with an esky full of lobsters from Frazer Island after his twenty eight Sydney to Hobart last New Year’s Eve. We had an amazing night, but the chopper had to be back in Sydney on the first…”We’ll depart at 0700 mate” and sure enough at three minutes to seven the chopper was warming up. Army training. He drove two hours back that night to be with us for a few more days of lobsters and champagne before heading off for another flying job….floods in Queensland possibly.

Many friends have rung me over the last few days. People who met Gary through Naomi or myself. They were all touched by his character, his warmth and generosity. He really was a wonderful man, a brilliant and safe pilot. He loved this country and the people he met along the way.

I first met him socially with Naomi and his now wife Teresa at dinner soon after we hooked up, we had worked professionally, but only once. Naomi and Teresa have been mates for over ten years and Teresa spoke at our wedding.

Anyway at the second dinner a month or so later he said “Look Geoff I have asked Teresa to marry me, she said yes, you should ask Naomi and we could have a double wedding, what do you recon mate?” Gotta love that! Bit quick though, as we had only been going out for three or four months…anyway he steered me in the right direction! He is the only person I know who called everyone “mate” men women children and his wife!

He had been invited by the Americans to cover the next Americans Cup and was excited about doing the upgrade and the job. What a terrific endorsement of his skill as an aerial grip, the pilot who knew where to put the camera to get the best shot.

He died in the country he loved, doing what he loved so much, but there will still be a lot of sadness in the air.


Robb Shaw-Velzen remembers John Bean

I also, like many cameraman had the pleasure of flying with Gary. He was indeed the Best!

I have been in a daze all day. I was John’s sound recordist for a while back in the early 90’s and learnt many things from a great cameraman, but the biggest lesson I learnt from John was the humour in everything. He could always find a smile, a laugh, a joke for anyone and anything, a truly wonderful Human Bean.

I remember on a trip to Batlow with Heather Hewitt, his passion for his craft, his dedication for the shots. Getting up for the sunrise, his coverage, his attention to every shot. Thanks John I was taking it all in my friend.

I spoke with Pip this morning however hard it was, she thanked me and said it made it a little bit easier with every phone call and she had a lot. To be told how much you loved and appreciated John, will mean a lot to her in this very trying time. Pick up the phone even if it is message. She is, as many of you may know a wonderful lady. They were soul mates those two.

Thanks Gary, Paul and John. You haven’t just become legends you always have been!

One thing that I know all of us have thought at one time or another; “If I go, let it be because I’m doing something I love doing.”

Be assured that all of these guys loved doing what they do.

Robb Shaw-Velzen
ACS ACT President

Sentiments from Ted Rayment

Gary wasn’t just a good bloke and a great chopper pilot – he was also a great camera operator who thought ‘pictures’ and instinctively knew what was a great shot. Flying with Gazza was always such a rewarding experience and he made us all look good. I still believe many ACS awards should have gone to Gary for his ‘camera work’. I’m also totally stunned by this news. He’s also a good mate that will be deeply missed. I keep hoping this is all a dream and I’ll wake up soon.

Ted Rayment ACS

Memories from Steve Windon ACS

I’m In New Orleans shooting.
I heard the sad news about Gary Ticehurst when reading the papers online that morning. I couldn’t believe it.

I worked out that I had been flying with Gary since my days as an ABC news cameraman when the first Bell Jet Ranger arrived, that was 32 years ago. Hundreds of hours flying together, news, docos, tvc’s mini-series and features, we flew together in the Blue Mountains in March this year on the feature film “A Few Best Men”

He was the best pilot to make us cinematographers look good, to sit behind him in the back door was just as simple as a cinematographers master class in how to shoot aerials, but most of all I remember the many crisp mornings standing alongside the “bird” with Gary and waiting for ‘first light”, a chinwag about last night at the local RSL or bowling club., then the inevitable egg & bacon roll & a coffee would arrive, if you were lucky! Then time to take off………that warm, calm & friendly voice over the coms, they were the best times……Gary, I will miss you.

Stephen Windon ACS

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