In September, our Illinois transmission team took helicopter training from English Air Services in preparation for a Transmission project in Central Illinois, which was recently completed. INTREN Marketing Manager Mary Smith caught a personal glimpse of our crew training – with 60 pounds of gear strapped to their waists on a bone-chilling 17-degree day, the crews took to the skies as if they were stepping on to a San Francisco trolley to complete the job. No fear, just hyper-focused on the task at hand.
Project 1: Fiber Optic Installation Between Substations
The project entailed hanging shield wire arms on top of 345 kV wooden H-structures and installing a dolly to pull the fiber optic in using the existing static wire. The men flew through the air on a helicopter cable referred to as the “long line”, which placed them on top the H-Structure. They then pre-drilled holes, so when the helicopter flew back with the 600-pound rail and landed it, the men could secure it to the structure. The project was 49.7 miles long and included 17 wire pulls in all. Their primary challenges to working safely were the wind and weather.
Project 2: Lattice Tower Structure Modification Work
In addition to the first project, the customer added on modification work on seven lattice towers, which included replacing attachment hardware for the existing shield wire. Unlike the H-structure work, the men worked off a skid platform, as the helicopter hovered alongside the tower.