Happy birthday, Skyfox! Celebrating Cleveland’s longest running news helicopter

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Time flies when you're having fun.

Just ask Patty Harken, Kristi Capel, and Pat Brady.

The three of them spent a combined 20 years keeping Northeast Ohio informed on the latest traffic conditions and breaking news.

And they did it all with a bird's eye view from Cleveland's longest running news helicopter.

It was September 13, 1997 that Skyfox made its debut on Fox 8.

Pat Brady

Pat Brady was in front of the camera when the helicopter debuted 20 years ago.

The former Fox 8 traffic reporter flew the skies over Cleveland for more than a decade. Brady estimates she spent some 12,000 hours in Skyfox over her tenure. She reported traffic for the morning and afternoon shows.

"You always knew the best way to get any place. You knew what was coming up and what was going down," Brady said of observing Cleveland's changing landscape over her time in the air. "It was absolutely awesome."

Brady said friends used to call her to get the inside scoop on traffic.

Brady said one of her fondest memories in Skyfox was helping police catch a wanted criminal by tracking him from the air.

"It was so exciting," Brady said of the chase. The wanted criminal ended up being captured inside a barn that belonged to the sheriff.

"It is so good to be here," Brady said of returning to Burke Lakefront Airport to celebrate Skyfox's birthday.

She ended her segment with her signature backwards wave that she did for years as part of her "Skyfox Salute."

Patty Harken

Patty Harken has been helping Fox 8 viewers navigate traffic since January of 2012.

"Welcome to my home," Harken said as she gave Kenny Crumpton a tour of her "office" during the Skyfox birthday celebration.

"It gets a little chilly," she said as she held up a blanket.

Harken also held up a picture of her face on a stick that she joked about using for her hits when she's asleep.

"This is for the really bumpy rides," Harken said while showing the motion sickness bag that's kept on Skyfox.

She admitted to having to use it once.

Still Harken said she loves taking to the skies over Northeast Ohio every morning.

She said it beats having a 9 to 5 job.

"I've never had a 9 to 5 job," she said. "This is the best job I've ever had."

"Every morning a job perk is watching the sunrise," she said.

"And watching the ballpark," Harken also listed as a perk since she is an avid Cleveland Indian's fan.

Kristi Capel

Kristi Capel handled traffic duties for nearly a year in 2011 before being named co-anchor of Fox 8 News in the Morning.

"It is fun," Capel said of getting to fly in Skyfox.

"Everybody loves it," Capel said of Skyfox. She said the crowds loved it when she did Friday Night Touchdown and the chopper landed near the high school football stadiums.

"It was a fun job," Capel said of delivering the traffic reports from Skyfox.