Sunday, September 30, 2007

Not Exactly A Car Wash...

Out for a walk with the dog this afternoon along the power line easement, I heard a helicopter in the distance coming closer and was amazed to see it flying at only about 80 feet above an urban neighbourhood. It soon became clear what he was doing.

A large boom which had been pointing forward and not seen against the bright sky swung out, the helicopter swung round and proceded to wash the insulators on the high tension lines. I watched for a while, finished my walk, grabbed my FZ50 and went back before they'd finished the entire stretch and was able to get these shots as they washed the last two pylons.

Amazing flying, remarkably steady, the boom only 4 feet from the insulators, the helicopter I suppose another 20 feet further away. Of course, they didn't turn off the power. Click on the images for a larger view.


Erik said...

Minimum approach distance for 230KV is 63". That looks like it could be 500KV. So, probably more than 4 feet.

Just my .02

George Barr said...

I confess I didn't shinny up the tower with my metal tape measure to check the distance.


Anonymous said...


Viridian and George, the minimum approach distance only applies if the object that is approaching is connected to earth ( 0 volts).
In this youtube movie you can see a new technique for repairing power lines where a technician is transported to the power lines with a chopper, does the repair and returns to the chopper without cutting the power.

Do not ask me about long term effects in the health of the worker for being at so strong electric fields!

Nice pictures, as always, George