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Getting powerline and pipeline contracts


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gomer's right but its not impossible to get to know the right people. Dont bother looking on the internet, its a waste of time in my experience. The utility companies websites are for customers not vendors.

The phone is the way to go- call the corprate offices and just tell whoever answeres the phone that your looking for the aviation department or whoever handles vendors, bidding, or asset maitenence. They should want to talk to you---the more bidders the better off they are when it comes to these.

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calling the power company is a good idea, but be sure to ask for the guy that knows whats going on not the guy running it.


ask for the Inspection and /or maintenance department and find a supervisor not a manager or director. you want the guys that are in the trenches not the offices


THEN work your way up the chain of command

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The best first step to getting utility contracts is joining the HAI's UPAC committee.

the UPAC (Utilities Patrol and Contruction Committee) meets twice a year (during the HAI convention and then every june in Alexandria, VA) Its members consist of about 200 of the most experienced operators and the some of the largest clients. All you have to do to join is attend 2 conecutive meetings and be voted in.

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  • 12 years later...

Have a think about how much you need to make to keep yourself in business. Perhaps a daily standing charge, to cover the time spent waiting for them to use you and you are unavailable for any other work, plus an hourly rate for when they do use you.

Quoting by the mile can be difficult, they might say there are 280 miles to survey, you put in a total price, and they find a bunch of extra lines to look at for free. If you wanted a rolling cost per mile, how are you going to measure it?

When we were doing powerlines, we won the tender by having a sensible price, backed up with Quality Assurance certification.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 1/23/2021 at 7:33 AM, alragan87 said:

My question is, what is a competitive yet acceptable bid? I can't find anything on it. Is it a lump sum, daily cost,  hourly usage or per mile? We have our own 44 and just want something to keep it flying and bring in extra income.


Don't forget you need to be a Part 135 operator and most likely a Part 133 operator to be able to contract. 

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4 hours ago, adam32 said:



119.1. All the things you can do part 91:

(1) Student instruction; 

(2) Nonstop Commercial Air Tours conducted after September 11, 2007, in an airplane or helicopter having a standard airworthiness certificate and passenger-seat configuration of 30 seats or fewer and a maximum payload capacity of 7,500 pounds or less that begin and end at the same airport, and are conducted within a 25-statute mile radius of that airport, in compliance with the Letter of Authorization issued under §91.147 of this chapter. For nonstop Commercial Air Tours conducted in accordance with part 136, subpart B of this chapter, National Parks Air Tour Management, the requirements of part 119 of this chapter apply unless excepted in §136.37(g)(2). For Nonstop Commercial Air Tours conducted in the vicinity of the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, the requirements of SFAR 50-2, part 93, subpart U, and part 119 of this chapter, as applicable, apply.

(3) Ferry or training flights; 

(4) Aerial work operations, including—

(i) Crop dusting, seeding, spraying, and bird chasing; 

(ii) Banner towing; 

(iii) Aerial photography or survey; 

(iv) Fire fighting; 

(v) Helicopter operations in construction or repair work (but it does apply to transportation to and from the site of operations); and 

(vi) Powerline or pipeline patrol; 

(5) Sightseeing flights conducted in hot air balloons; 

(6) Nonstop flights conducted within a 25-statute-mile radius of the airport of takeoff carrying persons or objects for the purpose of conducting intentional parachute operations.

(7) Helicopter flights conducted within a 25 statute mile radius of the airport of takeoff if—

(i) Not more than two passengers are carried in the helicopter in addition to the required flightcrew; 

(ii) Each flight is made under day VFR conditions; 

(iii) The helicopter used is certificated in the standard category and complies with the 100-hour inspection requirements of part 91 of this chapter; 


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Patrol flights will be over 25 miles usually...and good luck getting any fire work as a 91 operator. 

Just because it's in the Regs doesn't mean that's how it works in real life. 

Ag work requires a Part 133 cert also. 

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