From Birds on a Wire to Birds Pulling the Wire

Normally, when many people think of  power lines, the image of birds sitting on the wire comes to mind.  Here in Hawaii, a turn of that iconic image came when J.O’s crew used a “bird” or their helicopter to pull in the wire.

The past few days, J.O and his crew have been finishing a section of their project  where they pull in new electrical wire.  This is a normal process when working on transmission lines, but this time it was a little different because they had the help of a helicopter to pull it in.

J.O was able to give me a little background information for this post on pulling in wire and how it is the same yet different when they use a helicopter.  Basically, it goes like this: When they need to pull wire from structure to structure they normally have one crew that is opperating a rig that regulates wire tension. This helps to maintain the wire from falling into the trees, roads, power lines or any other obstacles. Most jobs, one can walk or drive ropes out to pull wire back; however, here, in this situation, the difference was that they used a helicopter to pull their wire from structure to structure with no lead rope or straw line.  When pulling their lines (wire), the spans can be in excess of 4000 feet which is obviously very long and near impossible to walk or drive lead ropes through. So, to save time and energy, they put a 70 foot load line underneath a helicopter and at the bottom of that they attached a 250lbs concrete “slug”  attached with a swivel and then to the wire.  This offers the pilot a more constant weight and helps keeps the wire from getting up near the main helicopter blades or tail rotor.  As usual, a man still runs the amount of wire that is being fed out and the helicopter simply pulls and guides it.  When they get near to the oncoming structure where the wire need to be, they tighten down on the amount of wire being released so that the helicopter is able to take some of the “sag” (make it more or less tight) from the wire.  The helicopter will then go beyond the structure 50-100 feet and touches the wire to the structure.  The men then catch off the wire and continue with their normal procedure.

The images that the guys captured during this part of the job were so breathtaking, I had to share and write a post on it! I hope you enjoy them and maybe even learned a little bit more about what goes into our power lines.  


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