WGN Radio Walk of Fame: Leonard Baldy

"Flying Officer" Leonard Frank Baldy

Leonard Baldy’s son, Tim Baldy, joined The Steve Cochran Show to talk about his dad being included into the 2017 WGN Radio Walk of Fame. Leonard was the first person to do airborne traffic reports. November 28, 1958 was a day for the history books when Chicago Police Officer Leonard Frank Baldy became the first “Flying Officer” and gave the first report on rush-hour congestion from a helicopter for the Wally Phillips Show.

Just one week after the trafficopter’s launch, a tragic fire broke out at Our Lady of the Angels School. Flying overhead, Baldy helped emergency crews navigate through the streets to get to the school and the local hospitals, later receiving a public service award from the NTSB for his efforts. Officer Baldy’s advice on choosing alternate routes became one of his trademarks, as well as his community service messages like “Under inflated tires and wet roads are not a good mix. Check your tire pressure tonight, so you can avoid an accident tomorrow.” Baldy’s comical look at Chicago’s traffic problems made him a household name; at one point, he received nearly 3,000 pieces of fan mail every month. Leonard Baldy and his pilot died in a helicopter crash on May 2, 1960.