Electricity, Engineering, Features, Maintenance

Specialist helicopters inspect transmission towers

Important components on Powerlink’s electricity towers are being inspected using specially designed video capture equipment mounted to helicopters in Queensland’s south.

Powerlink Chief Executive Merryn York said the helicopters would be used to safely inspect the insulators – the strings of porcelain or glass discs – located near the top of transmission towers.

“A fully insulated platform is fitted underneath the helicopter to enable a specialist linesman to sit outside the helicopter and carefully steer a camera attached to a five-metre insulating pole to record video of the insulator strings,” Ms York said.

“The video footage recorded at selected towers is then reviewed to determine if any corrosion or contaminants can be found on the steel pins that join the insulator discs together.

“This technique is a time and cost effective way to inspect this equipment, which ultimately plays an essential role in ensuring the continued safe and reliable operation of our transmission network.”

Ms York said the targeted helicopter patrols would take place across the Toowoomba region during May and crews would complete the work as quickly and non-disruptively as possible.

“We want to minimise any potential disturbance to local residents near our transmission lines while this important work is carried out. We appreciate their cooperation and patience,” Ms York said.

“Highly trained helicopter pilots will endeavour to maintain the maximum distance practically possible from houses, livestock and crops.

“Local residents may see the helicopter moving at a low level along our transmission lines. The helicopter may hover for up to 10 minutes at the towers where the insulator video inspection work is being done.”

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