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Blue Thunder in MacGyver | DVD | Blu-Ray | Episode guide

Blue Thunder in MacGyver

The pilot episode of MacGyver features a 29-second segment (16m 5s to 16m 34s) of the Blue Thunder helicopter (listed as "51" on the air intakes). Below are some screenshots (note that the last is not from Blu-ray). The helicopter approaches from the left, turns, and lands. Colonel Keel and MacGyver get out of the helicopter and walk to the underground lab escorted by an Army officer.

The IMDB notes that: the radio station that serves as cover for the New Mexico science facility is KBEX, a then-fictional identifier that was used in a number of TV shows of the time. It has since been given to a real station in Texas.

Contributed by Thomas Higginson, January 19, 2019:

"I just got MacGyver on Blu-ray and we can now confirm which ship was used on the pilot episode. Not sure if it was ever clearly resolved which bird was being used. You can clearly see the secondary Blue Thunder being used due to the subdued reg number, N51BT, on the pilot-side door. Also, it is clear that it is Jim Gavin flying it. Here's some shots from the Blu-ray version."

The first clear view of the reg.
number from the pilot episode.

Fictional (at the time) "KBEX"
is now a real FM station
in Dalhart, Texas.

Best view of reg. "N51BT"
with Jim Gavin as pilot.

MacGyver is the last to
exit the helicopter.
[screenshot not from Blu-ray]


Originally aired on ABC from January 1984 to April 1984, episodes are 60 minutes long. The three-disc DVD TV series is now available from


Contributed by Tom Higginson, June 13, 2020:

"I didn't have the patience to translate into French, but Elephant Films announced back in May [2020] [archived image] that they are working on a Blu-Ray release of the Blue Thunder TV series. It could just be SD transfer on Blu-Ray, I don't know."

Episode guide

James Farentino ... Frank Chaney
Sandy McPeak ... Captain Ed Braddock
Dana Carvey ... Clinton "Jafo" Wonderlove
Dick Butkus ... Richard "Ski" Butowski
Bubba Smith ... Lyman "Bubba" Kelsey
Ann Cooper ... J.J. Douglas
Theme music (.wma)
Internet Movie Database

1st (and only) Season: 1984

Episode 1: "Second Thunder" (January 6, 1984)

guest stars: Richard Lynch, Robert Balderson

The Blue Thunder Team, a special police unit which uses a hi-tech helicopter with ground support, is formed to stop a madman who has been gunning down regular police helicopters.

Episode 2: "A Clear and Present Danger" (January 13, 1984)

guest stars: Geoffrey Lewis, Gracie Harrison, Joseph Whipp

The Blue Thunder team must stop a paramilitary operation that is trying to take over the country through political assassinations and bank robberies.

Episode 3: "Arms Race" (January 20, 1984)

guest stars: Sam Anderson, Ted Hamilton, Darleen Carr, Ed Grover

The Blue Thunder team goes after an arms smuggling ring being run by an old friend of Chaney's that is selling weapons to an African tyrant.

Episode 4: "Revenge in the Sky" (January 27, 1984)

guest stars: Katherine Justice, David Speilberg, Kai Wulff, Matthew Faison, Kurtwood Smith (plays the owner of the stolen fighter).

Chaney discovers that an FBI agent, who had asked the Blue Thunder team to recover a stolen Korean War fighter plane, is a Soviet double agent.

Episode 5: "Trojan Horseman" (February 3, 1984)

guest stars: Ralph Manza, Brian Kale, Dennis Holahan, Elizabeth Hoffam

Bubba and Ski go undercover in a prison, as inmate and guard, to prevent a convicted swindler from escaping.

Episode 6: "Skydiver" (February 24, 1984)

guest stars: Richard Yniguez, Tracy Scoggins, Jeannie Linero

Chaney must decide whether to rescue the lovely president of a third world nation who is about to be assassinated or to rescue Bubba and Ski who are on a small plane which is about to crash.

Episode 7: "Clipped Wings" (March 2, 1984)

guest stars: Kimberly Alexander, Scott Hylands, John Fox, Rion Hunter

Chaney's arch rival is given control of Blue Thunder after Chaney is reassigned for breaking off a drug stake out in order to pursue kidnappers.

Episode 8: "Payload" (March 9, 1984)

guest stars: George Gaynes, Peter Vogt, Thomas Callaway, Ray Wise, Belinda J. Montgomery

Blue Thunder has been assigned to transport a new gene splicing experiment, making it a target of a company which stands to loose millions if the experiment is a success.

Episode 9: "The Long Flight" (March 16, 1984)

guest stars: Gregory Sierra, Paul Koslo, Wayne Heffley, Liz Torres, Kelly Preston

A Mexican drug lord kidnaps Captain Braddock's daughter and demands Blue Thunder as a ransom.

Episode 10: "Godchild" (March 23, 1984)

guest stars: Robert Viharo, John Hancock Victor Arnold, Maylo McCaslin

Chaney must convince the granddaughter of a dead mobster to turn her grandfather's business documents over to the FBI before his old business associates kill her to get them.

Episode 11: "The Island" (April 16, 1984)

guest stars: Thalmus Rasulala, Robert DuQui, Lisa Sutton

The Blue Thunder team journeys to a small Caribbean island to prevent American mercenaries, who have been hired by the KGB, from killing the Prime Minister.