I’ve known about this for a while but I figured I’d share it since many won’t know about the effort that goes into maintaining transmission lines.
Balls of steel. That is a maneuver that has a pile of things that can go wrong at any moment. Most of those things will likely result in death. That said it can and is done safely on a regular basis.
For those who don’t understand how attaching a helicopter to a 500 KV line doesn’t result in things failing you just need to remember what matters is a difference in potential. The helicopter is a floating isolated point. Since its isolated, its reference to “ground” can be shifted. In this case as the helicopter approaches they use the wand to tie the helicopter to the same potential. Once the helicopter at line match, so does everything else on the helicopter, including the people.
Once that connection is broken though the systems start drifting apart again.
And lets not forget if the weather turns there’s now another huge problem since wind can cause the helicopter to collide with the power lines. The lesson there is a helicopter has 74,000 moving parts, all moving in opposition to each other, each with the common goal to kill you.
Still looks like it would be an interesting job, at least as a pilot anyway. I have no interest on sitting on top of a 500 KV line, despite my knowledge of how it works. I also know at 500KV it wouldn’t take much to create the current necessary to kill me should a piece of personal protective equipment fail.
Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.
He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.