A broadcasting institution and beloved member of our 11Alive family, Bruce Erion, died on Thursday.

From 1982 until 1999, Erion reported breaking news from the air along with photographers including Tracy Miller and Bruce Mason, bringing us the first images and important information to metro Atlanta and Georgia in countless news stories. The lists of stories he covered would read like a history of Atlanta, Georgia and the nation during those years.

And for generations of school children, Erion was the helicopter pilot they will always remember. He would not just make school visits, he would fly "Skycam" to their schools' athletic fields and land as the children watched. And with the children circled around him he would put on a puppet show--then teach them all about helicopters and their uses in aviation, journalism, the military, emergency medicine, and rescues in the mountains and at sea.

Erion was West Point all the way, a Vietnam Veteran who loved to fly and loved Atlanta. After 11Alive, Erion was a helicopter pilot for first responders and medical emergency personnel in metro Atlanta.

Erion died of cancer on Thursday. He is survived by his wife and his two children.

Bruce Erion was 71 years old.