Jump to content

Powerline-/ Pipelinepatrol


Phil77
 Share

Recommended Posts

I was wandering if I should talk my boss into bidding on powerline contracts...

since neither he nor I have any experience on how this whole thing works, I appreciate any input ranging from payment (e.g. hourly, flat rate) to flight ops - why are there so many turbines out there? more reliable, longer endurance? a piston would be cheaper, right? Do we need an observer or do the companies provide one?

 

A lot of variables I think, but I'm greatful for any suggestions!

 

Phil

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you looked closely at what powerline work involves? If not, you really need to. It involves hovering over the poles, with a lineman on a basket attached to the helicopter doing the work. Pistons won't cut it, because they don't have the reliability nor the load lifting capability. Lose an engine while working on a powerline, and somebody is going to die. You had better have top-notch equipment and very, very experienced pilots before you get into this.

 

Pipeline patrol is more forgiving, but some of the places where they run don't allow a safe recovery from engine failure either. Neither of these is anything you want to try without complete preparation and lots of practice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

yea, I was thinking more about the "patrol" portion of the job...

 

I'm still planning on having kids sometime, so being part of the electric circuit - when they basically connect themselves to the live powerline like these guys do to actually maintain the line - is not what I had in mind! :blink:

 

I was thinking about the kind of work where I'm flying next to the line and look for lightning strikes on the isolators or so.

 

I understand that there are lots of places where you don't wanna be when the engine says goodbye, but isn't that part of the job?

 

anyway, thanks for the reply! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you and/or your company have had no experience flying powerline lines, I wouldn't suggest getting invovled without some guidance and training from someone with experience. It has an added level of risk to it. I am not saying it is terribly difficult or that you have to be an extraodinary pilot to fly the lines. There are more risks flying along at pole top height and you will encounter dangers that you would not expect if you have spent all of your time flying around a 500+ AGL. You really have to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Its not the line that you are flying that will most likely kill you, it is the line that crosses it that you don't see. Powerlines can be, for all intents and purposes, invisible in certain lighting consitions, you have to know what to look for. You will spend most of your time NOE, so you have to be comfortable with that and accept the added risks that brings as well.

 

Powerline companies will send along observers to fly along, in my experience can be anwhere from 1-3 people. The pilot just has to concentrate on not hitting anything.

 

The type of helicopter used depends on many different factors. The preference and/or requirements of the power company, cost, availiblity, etc. And just because a helicopter is cheaper by the hour, doesn't mean that it will save the power company any money. A machine that has a longer endurance and a higher useful load can work longer in between fuel stops. So it will spend less time dead heading back and forth to airports for fuel and more time on the lines.

 

Pipeline patrols are usually flown at a much more forgiving height, 500 ft AGL. And it is usually the responsibility of the pilot to observe the line and report back to the pipeline company. Pipeline companies usually use airplanes for patroling lines cross country, because it cheaper, and helicopters for patroling the lines that run through cities, because they can fly lower over a populated area.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pipeline patrol can vary a lot. IME the pipeline company sends along one or more observers, sometimes 3 or so, especially if they need to train new people. A Robbie won't cut it for this, but this probably is different with different companies. Many require twin turbine models. I've flown pipelines through the Big Thicket in east Texas, where you had better be over the right-of-way if the engine quits, because there is no other place to land for miles, and you're going to cut some trees with the blades even there. I've also flown pipelines through Houston, through the Johnson Space Center and through Hobby Airport, which has pipelines running underneath the runways. You need to be good on airspace and radio work here. It takes concentration in any case. The easiest pipeline patrol I've done is offshore, following an invisible pipeline under a few hundred feet of water. Boring, but easy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...and do you know how the whole accounting works out?

do they pay by flight hour or amount of checked miles?

 

appreciate your inputsso far... I knew its not the most safest way to make a living in aviation, but at least there's nobody who pulls the collective and kicks the wrong pedal if you simulate an engine failure! :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I fly a pipeline patrol and it is bid upon by the mile as opposed to flight hour. Special patrols, ie when they send someone along, is billed at an hourly rate. As far as flying low and no place to make a forced landing that is the nature of helicopters, weather sling work, EMS or pipe/powerline patrols. It is generally hard to get into pipeline patrol from what I have heard. The two companies I have done it for have had their contracts for 20, and 16 years respectively.

 

I know the company that owns the pipeline I fly does not like Robinsons. Some of this predudice may be ignorance, because the reputation of 20 years ago, and the other, as stated above, is because some of these oil workers are real big bubbas, when you have to take one along.

 

Hope this helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, the 206B we used to use wasn't really enough. You need to be able to carry at least 600 lb of pax if there are going to be observers. That's about 2 average workers. We had to download the fuel considerably to carry two observers. That didn't happen every time, but they carry a trainee fairly often.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, the 206B we used to use wasn't really enough. You need to be able to carry at least 600 lb of pax if there are going to be observers. That's about 2 average workers. We had to download the fuel considerably to carry two observers. That didn't happen every time, but they carry a trainee fairly often.

We do pipeline in a couple of Alouettes. They have good endurance and will carry a load. Very pleased with their performance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We do pipeline in a couple of Alouettes. They have good endurance and will carry a load. Very pleased with their performance.

 

Don't you also train in the Alouettes too? Something like $300.00/hour for exclusive all turbine training? Somewhere in West Virginia, maybe?

 

Sounds like quite the versatile aircraft...

 

I'm just tired of hearing about it...

 

Come-on, enough is enough...

 

Please??!!

 

-V5

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't you also train in the Alouettes too? Something like $300.00/hour for exclusive all turbine training? Somewhere in West Virginia, maybe?

 

Sounds like quite the versatile aircraft...

 

I'm just tired of hearing about it...

 

Come-on, enough is enough...

 

Please??!!

 

-V5

 

I second that V5........ Some poeple need to go concentrate on running a business with $300/hr turbine copters that are the best thing since sliced bread and individually wrapped cheese slices..... if they have this much time to spend on the computer than business must be slow (its my theory and I'm sticking to it)!

 

But seriously Mr Bossman, have you ever been in a conversation with someone that keeps repeating the same story over and over again in conversations, and by the 50th time you have heard it, you want to throttle the individual? We are all aware of what the Alouette is, and what you do with it over the last few days. Yes, I would enjoy flying one someday for the hell of it, and your offers of being a part of the crew are great and hopefully a few guys get to have a hell of a ride on a Huey. But please take all your experiance, and everything that you have learned over all the years you have been flying and running a business to a constructive use on the site to help us newbies beginning in the field. I respect you for what you have done, sounds like you were possibly in 'nam, and you have a successful business going. Tutor, assist and help us out, don't cram something down our throats 24-7. You started a few posts, so lets all put it to bed, move on and work together to further the training of the replacement folks like myself and others here on the board.

 

I think I am going to take a leave of absense for a few days and hope all this advertising goes away when I come back...... (But this site is so damn addicting). I ready for the rebuttels, now that I have put my head on the chopping block when I should have just signed off and not said anything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...
I second that V5........ Some poeple need to go concentrate on running a business with $300/hr turbine copters that are the best thing since sliced bread and individually wrapped cheese slices..... if they have this much time to spend on the computer than business must be slow (its my theory and I'm sticking to it)!

 

But seriously Mr Bossman, have you ever been in a conversation with someone that keeps repeating the same story over and over again in conversations, and by the 50th time you have heard it, you want to throttle the individual? We are all aware of what the Alouette is, and what you do with it over the last few days. Yes, I would enjoy flying one someday for the hell of it, and your offers of being a part of the crew are great and hopefully a few guys get to have a hell of a ride on a Huey. But please take all your experiance, and everything that you have learned over all the years you have been flying and running a business to a constructive use on the site to help us newbies beginning in the field. I respect you for what you have done, sounds like you were possibly in 'nam, and you have a successful business going. Tutor, assist and help us out, don't cram something down our throats 24-7. You started a few posts, so lets all put it to bed, move on and work together to further the training of the replacement folks like myself and others here on the board.

 

I think I am going to take a leave of absense for a few days and hope all this advertising goes away when I come back...... (But this site is so damn addicting). I ready for the rebuttels, now that I have put my head on the chopping block when I should have just signed off and not said anything.

brushfire,

 

The thread was about pipeline patrol. I made the statement about doing it in an Alouette. It is a true statement. Not advertising. You need to grow up.

bossman

 

 

Don't you also train in the Alouettes too? Something like $300.00/hour for exclusive all turbine training? Somewhere in West Virginia, maybe?

 

Sounds like quite the versatile aircraft...

 

I'm just tired of hearing about it...

 

Come-on, enough is enough...

 

Please??!!

 

-V5

Volup,

A statement was made about doing pipeline in a 206. I made the comment, that we do it in an Alouette 3130, and are very pleased with the ship and the performance. It is a true statement and I don't care if you are tired of hearing about it.

bossman

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Volup,

A statement was made about doing pipeline in a 206. I made the comment, that we do it in an Alouette 3130, and are very pleased with the ship and the performance. It is a true statement and I don't care if you are tired of hearing about it.

bossman

 

Bossman,

 

Please look at the dates of the posts. I made that post almost exactly TWO months ago. That was exactly THREE days after you joined the forum and were constantly bombarding the VR Community with your relentless and shameless self-promotions. Personally, my attitude towards you has changed after reading some of your posts, seeing your “real” advertisements on the banners, you contributing directly to this forum by becoming a VIP member, and most impressively, your offers of generosity to the Vietnam-era (and other war veteran) pilots on this forum--that's very kind of you. That being said, I apologize for coming at you.

 

I wish you and every other “small” business owner on this forum my best in making your business endeavors successful. Owning your own business is a VERY tough road to hoe…

 

Best of luck,

 

-Volup

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Volup,

A statement was made about doing pipeline in a 206. I made the comment, that we do it in an Alouette 3130, and are very pleased with the ship and the performance. It is a true statement and I don't care if you are tired of hearing about it.

bossman

Bossman,

 

Please look at the dates of the posts. I made that post almost exactly TWO months ago. That was exactly THREE days after you joined the forum and were constantly bombarding the VR Community with your relentless and shameless self-promotions. Personally, my attitude towards you has changed after reading some of your posts, seeing your “real” advertisements on the banners, you contributing directly to this forum by becoming a VIP member, and most impressively, your offers of generosity to the Vietnam-era (and other war veteran) pilots on this forum--that's very kind of you. That being said, I apologize for coming at you.

 

I wish you and every other “small” business owner on this forum my best in making your business endeavors successful. Owning your own business is a VERY tough road to hoe…

 

Best of luck,

 

-Volup

I should have looked at the dates. The helicopter world is a tough place to make a living. If it was not for my construction company we would be hard pressed to make ends meet. Luck to you also.

bossman

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...