Following a quietly courageous three-year battle with a rare cancer, Stephen Robert (Steve) Wiley, age 65, peacefully passed away in the early hours of February 3rd. He was Capitol Broadcasting Company and WRAL-TV’s Sky5 chief pilot, and Helicopter Operations Manager for Flight Group Corporation.
Born in England to Canadian parents, he was schooled there until age twelve when his family moved back to Canada—his father was a senior executive with Air Canada. After high school and college in the Toronto area he developed an affinity for helicopters. He completed flight training, received helicopter pilot certification and never looked back.
Steve was a pioneer in establishing helicopter news operations in New York City, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh prior to joining WRAL-TV in Raleigh in 1988. Starting out with the station’s Hughes 500 aircraft (he referred to it as “the sports car”), he soon saw the need for upgrade in order to meet the demands of television news coverage. He oversaw the purchase and outfitting of the Bell 407 (the “Cadillac.”) Due in large part to his eye toward the future, it remains in use today as one of the finest in electronic news gathering.
Whether Steve was flying a reporter, photographer or dignitary, his primary concern was safety first, news story second. As a result, his thirty-plus years safety record was unblemished. His mission—bring each person safely back to the ground. From hurricane and tornado damages to massive fires to horrendous crashes to police chases to sporting events, Steve calmly and without incident flew staff to give eyewitness aerial live news accounts of the events.
Even as his illness progressed, he continued managing day to day operations, hiring and training two skilled pilots to carry on the Sky 5 legacy of safety and news excellence.
In addition to his wife of thirty years Kevin Rebecca Adkins Wiley, he is survived by his mother-in-law Page Worthington; brothers-in-law Jeff Adkins and Miles Huggins; sisters-in-law Debbie A. Huggins, Meredith A. Proctor and Jamie G. Adkins.
Condolences may be sent to Sky 5 at WRAL-TV, P.O. Box 12000, Raleigh, NC 27605. Memorials may be sent to Carolina Tiger Rescue, 1940 Hanks Chape Rd, Pittsboro, NC 27312 or online at carolinatigerrescue.org. Due to COVID restrictions, plans for a memorial service are not yet finalized.
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Carolina Tiger Rescue
1940 Hanks Chapel Rd., Pittsboro NC 27312