Helicopters & High Voltage Lines
One spring afternoon I heard a helicopter overhead from my office. It sounded as if the chopper was landing on our buildings. In reality, it landed a short distance from the office in a field. The pilot indicated he was low on fuel and concerned he could make the airport. So he landed to refuel.
I noticed the chopper had a generator mounted on a platform attached to the struts. The guys were attaching clips for fiber optics to high voltage power poles
The guy attaching the clips to the power pole was wearing a black wire-mesh jump suite. “Why the jump suite”, I asked? His reply was, “So we can sit on the power lines like birds.” When approaching to work on a high voltage line (30,000 volts I believe) pole, He would take a grounding rod and start about 3 feet out from the line. The electricity would jump the gap and he would then move the rod to the line until the helicopter was the same voltage as the power line. Thus they could then attach the clips.
A few days later I notice a crew stringing a cable through the clips from a spool. Every since that day during my travels I look to the top of high voltage poles for the fiber optic cables that were strung by a two man crew; One crazy pilot and a partner hanging off the platform attaching clips with an electric impact gun.
Here is my question: These type contractors have probably strung fiber cables for thousands of miles on high voltage poles.
Charging and discharging a helicopter has bound to have an effect on the various metallurgy in the chopper
What additional review is required in a helicopter maintenance program that deals with these type voltages?
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