Smithsonian Channel Takes To The Skies With Original HD Series

Smithsonian Channel will provide viewers with a high-definition "birds eye view" of each of the 50 states through a new series.

The channel is co-producing Aerial America with HD aerial filming specialist Skyworks. The 50 one-hour programs are expected to begin airing next summer.

Principal photography will be shot in a Smithsonian Channel-branded helicopter equipped with a gyro-stabilized Cineflex HD camera system, the same rigging used for the Planet Earth miniseries that aired on Discovery Channel. The helicopter crew will cross the nation, spending about six months airborne, as they traverse some 60,000, the equivalent of 2.5 trips around Earth.

Among the images that will be captured: swoops over Hearst Castle, Alacatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge; views of bears catching salmon in Alaskan rivers; a look into one of the largest volcanoes in North America; and a check of Bonnie and Clyde’s escape route through the Ozarks.

“This show represents the biggest aerial series ever attempted and the most ambitious project the channel has produced,” said David Royle, executive vice president of production and programming for the Smithsonian Channel, in a statement. “We are embarking on a voyage of discovery and revelation, and who better to show America our nation in a new way than Smithsonian Networks. Skyworks is a perfect partner for us on this.”

Skyworks founding director Richard Mervyn noted:“The idea of Aerial America is to tell the complex and intriguing history of the country but in a way never before attempted. Skyworks brings the expertise in capturing all the elements that makes this great story and from a view rarely before seen. This is a great commission for Skyworks and cements our relationship with the Smithsonian Network.”