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Powerlines?


hooked4life
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So it is normal? Those guy must have nerves of steel.

It's not normal to the degree that utilities do it themselves, there are a few companies that do that kind of work that get hired when it's necessary. If you think that's exciting, there are also companies that send divers into spent fuel pools at nuclear plants to make repairs and upgrades.

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Don't know about the rest of you, but I think that stuff is GREAT!!!!!!! But being an electrician/lineman and a helicopter pilot I guess that makes sense. That work is very routine. It is the only real way to get to some of the transmission line locations. Just requires steel nerves and a HUGE paycheck. Check out these nutters:

 

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At a Christmas Party at a local Helicopter operator, I talked with the Chief Pilot of Winco an operator out of Oregon that does a lot of this powerline work. As far as he is concerned, powerline patrol is more dangerous that what he does, which is to do what we have been discussing in this thread. According to him, as long as you are not grounded or cross two or more wires, you're OK. But you have to have a steady helicopter that you are comfortable in. Plus it needs to be set up to help you accomplish the job. The machine has to work with you, not against you.

 

They use 500's. Since most of the time the pilots are using longline techniques with their heads out the side, these machines may be set up with indicator lights by the lower front door frame or they may turn the torque meter 90 degrees so the top of the meter can be seen.

 

It was interesting to get his point of view on this.

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Don't know about the rest of you, but I think that stuff is GREAT!!!!!!! But being an electrician/lineman and a helicopter pilot I guess that makes sense. That work is very routine. It is the only real way to get to some of the transmission line locations. Just requires steel nerves and a HUGE paycheck. Check out these nutters:

 

 

I remember a case study done in "fatal traps for helicopter pilots" where 2 guys were slinging deer out of a steep wooded area to a beach in New Zealand. One guy(the shooter) was getting lifted in like this by the R22 when the pilot accidentally released the cargo hook at about 50 feet. The guy died 2 or 3 hours later from internal bleeding.

 

That being said, if I ever fail a medical exam, this could be my next career!!!

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Fun Stuff huh? My brother used to do this stuff, And I hope to be doing it myself in a few months, there are 5 or 6 operators that I know of doing it in the US and a few more overseas.

I've only seen it done from D and E model 500s for platform work but i've heard companies in europe use 109's ?!?. The guys I have talked to say that the notars dont have the tail rotor authority to do it. Not sure if anyone has tried. Normally it is crabbed a bit more to keep the tail further away. At any rate, they dont have many accidents, like the one guy said, in many ways patrol is more dangerous.

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What makes power line patrol more dangerous?

 

From what my guy told me, it is because the guys flying it get bored and have a sort of tunnel vision. As they say familiarity breeds contempt.

 

As for the NOTAR, Winco has one, but they do not use it for powerline work. From what I was told, they use the 500 because the helicopter is stable, but is also quite agile. Much more so than the 206.

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Here is one of HEAT (Haverfield) doing transfer from their platform. Its much more stable to work from that then long lining people in. There are a few accidents with this operation as any other helicopter operations but I rather do this and learn from the best.

 

 

TT

 

This clip was from the Heli documentary called "Straight Up"

A great show with lots of impressive footage and very informative as well.

You can get it here...

http://www.amazon.com/IMAX-Presents-Straig...n/dp/B000EQ5U8M

This link is to the DVD version. It was shot in High Definition (IMAX), but I am not sure where you can get that version besides super secret downloads...

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What makes power line patrol more dangerous?

 

For one thing You are moving, you are more likely to hit things when you are moving.

As simple at it may seem to see and avoid there are several utility accidents each year where helicopters on patrol hit lines crossing over the lines they are patroling. most high time pilots that just momentarily loose situational awareness and glance over at the line they are patroling and take their eyes of where they are going long enough to hit the crossing.

Unfortunately these patrol accidents are almost always fatal to all on board.

 

Pilots doing live line work dont dent to loose situational awareness when on the wire. And because thay are not moving, they can focus on one thing, not moving.

The 500 is used for line work because of its stability as several people said. but also because of its small rotor diamater, and crashworthiness.

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I have done both types of flying and in my opinion, doing transfers from the skid is more dangerous than long-lining the linesmen onto the structure or conductors. As long as procedures are followed and your situational awareness is good, there is nothing inherently unsafe about the work, either for the pilot or linesmen. It does require concentration, lots of it, but like anything else, you get used to it.

 

I like the close work because it is challenging but then, so is the long-lining. It does require patience and familiarity with a long-line because you are sometimes required to hold a position for minutes at a time while keeping the tension on the line. If you are not comfortable being there, it gets very stressful very quickly and I sometimes squeeze the hell out of the cyclic, not to mention bending the pedals.

 

I also found patrol to be dangerous because of the monotony. A friend of mine actually fell asleep for a second or two while flying between two structures, that caused him to cancel the rest of the day. It gets very tiring. Thankfully, I don't do too much of that anymore.

 

Power line flying is some of the best I have ever done and while it can be hard work, there are times and jobs where it is just thoroughly enjoyable. It is not for everyone and it goes against the grain of everything we are taught at flight school about the avoid curve but that is why it is also called the "money curve". For those who do like the idea, try it and you will be hooked. Considering the nature of the work, there have been remarkably few accidents which shows that we are doing something right.

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  • 2 weeks later...

And to boot, in the second video the bird "lost" (in my estimation) over 400 lbs in souls and equipment off of the left skid. Yet never moved! That's talent gents, I'm impressed!

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