PHOENIX -- A perennial Valley favorite, Bruce Haffner is taking to the sky once again for 3TV and azfamily.com.
Haffner's company, Chopperguy LLC, inked a five-year deal with the Valley's groundbreaking news partnership, which means he will be flying and reporting not only for 3TV, but also for CBS 5.
With nearly 20 years of experience as a pilot, Haffner was the go-to source for up-to-the minute news coverage. For years, 3TV viewers relied on him for his bird's-eye view of the Valley and beyond, particularly during wildfire season and the monsoon.
Not only does Haffner cover the news as it happens, his Robinson R44 Newscopter, which is equipped with the latest digital technology and is basically a flying production studio, allows him to share a unique perspective on many features stories.
An Arizona State University graduate, Haffner began his broadcasting career as a 3TV photographer in 1984. After a few stints in the helicopter, he was hooked. He became the pilot for NewsChopper 3 in 1995.
Although the foundering economy grounded him in 2009, Haffner never gave up on his passion for flying. He founded Chopperguy LLC and returned to 3TV in 2011 in the Fort McDowell Casino News Chopper. That contract expired at the end of May.
Meredith, which owns CBS 5 and acquired 3TV in late June, moved quickly to get Haffner back on the air, this time with an expanded audience.
"This is like I won an Oscar," Haffner told 3TV's Scott Pasmore when the pair met up at Scottsdale Airpark during "Good Morning Arizona" Thursday. "I've been dealing with Ed Munson at Channel 3, Channel 5. He's been unbelievable negotiating this deal to fly for both Channel 3 and Channel 5. ... I've been on top of the world. It's unbelievable."
Munson is president and general manager of both stations. He had been working on the partnership with Haffner Chopperguy LLC since he took the reins at 3TV.
"It is great to be able to bring him back to where he belongs ...," Munson said in a news release.
Haffner and his team are thrilled with how things fell into place with the two Meredith stations.
"They said go for it -- do some really good stuff from the helicopter," Haffner continued. "That's what we're going to do. We are just so excited about that."
Haffner gave 3TV's viewers a mini tour of his helicopter, which is bright white at the moment. He said it will be painted once a sponsor is in place.
To say that Haffner is looking forward to this new stage in his career is an understatement.
"To do what you do, what you love to do for work ... there's just nothing like it," he said with that huge smile that 3TV viewers know and love.
Haffner's return to 3TV and debut on CBS 5 launches on Oct. 1.