Sky 5 pilot lands dream job. Here is his story.

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Posted at 7:45 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 20:45:21-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Sky 5 pilot Lance Pugliese loves showing off Sky 5 from the air and on the ground, landing at community events and schools.

“Every time they ask where's the rocket launcher,” says Pugliese of wide-eyed students.

“These kids don't even realize these jobs are available to them until they see it, and when we land, they are just in awe.”

Puliese knows the feeling, recalling seeing Sky5 for the first time when he was 21 years old at a festival in Robertson County.

“I went to a community event randomly on a Saturday and they said Sky 5 was going to come and I thought ‘Cool, I’d never seen one in real life.’ So they come and orbit around and hover and I was just blown away. I’d never been that close to a helicopter. I grew up watching NewsChannel 5 with my parents every night, so when I realized the two things could combine, I just started to obsess over it.

He called NewsChannel 5 the next day and tracked down the pilot with one very important question.

“I said what would it take to do what you do?”

Next came a test flight and he was hooked. Now with a pilot's license and thousands of flight hours under his belt, Pugliese has been one of two Sky 5 pilots for the last five years.

“The bombing, flooding, missing persons, car crashes, police chases — we do it all.”

Pugliese helps us bring you the news as it’s happening, even when just getting in the air seemed impossible. The March 2020 tornado that took out John C Tune airport left Sky 5 a crumpled mess. But it was Lance who came to the rescue, found another helicopter, and got us back in the air to survey the damage.

“We took the door off the side of the helicopter and had him (a photojournalist) hanging out the side with the old-school 90’s camera. I had to be super low because we didn't have the capabilities of this whole camera set up.”

Pugliese and several members of the Newschannel5 team won an Emmy for the coverage. And while he’s proud of all he’s accomplished, he’s looking to the future.

“It seems like even the best is yet to come because it seems like we fly over amazing stuff every day.”