Feb 21, 2023

Building Bridges and Beyond: Real-Life Examples of Helicopter Construction Projects

Building Bridges and Beyond: Real-Life Examples of Helicopter Construction Projects

Helicopters are becoming increasingly popular in construction projects because they provide access to hard-to-reach areas. They are beneficial for aerial surveying, delivering materials and supplies, and transporting workers. Helicopters can cover large distances quickly and reduce the need for road transport or traditional cranes, which can be costly or unavailable.

helicopter for construction

CN Tower

On March 1975, Olga, the giant Sikorsky helicopter, flew into Toronto to assemble the final 39 pieces of the CN Tower's antenna, completing its construction. Following two more months of preparation and testing, The CN Tower opened for business on June 26th, 1976, proudly standing at 553 meters (1,815 feet). It held that title until 2009 when Dubai’s Burj Khalifa surpassed it as the tallest freestanding structure in the world.

wind farm

Vineyard Wind Farm

The Vineyard Wind project is a wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts. The project would be the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the United States, utilizing 84 turbines expected to generate up to 800 megawatts of electricity. The power generated by this facility is estimated to serve more than 400,000 homes in the area. The project was proposed by Vineyard Wind LLC, which is a joint venture between Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, two of the world's leading offshore wind developers.

The project employs helicopters and CTVs to bring personnel out to the worksite. Aside from being a suitable alternative in cases of inclement weather, helicopters are also used for quick response visual inspections and repair activities as needed.

transmission line

Punjab Transmission Line Project

Erickson's project is a component of the expansive Sterlite Grid $436-million Northern Region System Strengthening 29 project, which involves constructing a 400kV transmission line to transport 2,000 MW of energy from Punjab to Jammu and Kashmir - an area in dire need of electricity situated deep within the Himalayas.

Utilizing the unprecedented accuracy of its Aircrane, Erickson will facilitate Sterlite Grid by transporting materials and steel to their destination and using the aircraft's lifting power to construct towers along the intended electrical line. The team will work in an isolated Himalayas region at 9,000 to 12,500 feet.

transmission line

West of Devers Upgrade Project

The West of Devers Upgrade Project (California) involves completely removing and substituting 48 corridor miles worth of 220kV transmission lines between Devers, El Casco, Vista, and San Bernardino Substations. New double-circuit 220 kV transmission lines installed in their place will help ensure a reliable power flow for these locations.

The construction of the transmission lines requires project-related helicopter activities, such as transporting personnel, equipment, and materials from authorized material yards to preapproved structure sites.

helicopter patrol

ITC Midwest Aerial Patrols

As America's leading independent electricity transmission business, ITC Holdings Corp. proudly owns ITC Midwest LLC, which holds utility status in Wisconsin and manages 6,600 circuit miles of power lines throughout Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, and Missouri.

NERC's regulations necessitate that ITC Midwest performs periodic patrols for their vegetation management program. Not only does this fulfill compliance requirements, but it also allows them to anticipate future maintenance needs and live up to their mission of operational excellence.

The helicopter crew inspects steel structures, wooden poles, wires, insulators, and other components to detect worn or damaged equipment and vegetation-related risks.

transmission lines

NV Energy Construction Project

NV Energy used helicopters to transport power poles and essential equipment to reconstruct their transmission lines between Carson City and Glenbrook. This project encompasses timber extraction and construction-related tasks for 9.23 miles of the current power line corridor.

To minimize any environmental impacts, much of the work will be conducted with the assistance of a helicopter. Unlike traditional building methods, which require crews to build access roads and drive trucks to sites, aerial construction is far more environmentally friendly. It allows workers, equipment, and materials to reach their destinations via an extended synthetic rope suspended underneath the chopper.

helicopter construction

Coyote Valley Bridge

The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District will utilize helicopters to construct three stunning bridges—reaching 2,000 feet in the air—across a 4.2-mile stretch along Mt. Umunhum's trail.

In the craggy depths of its untamed terrain, helicopters are a priceless asset. They were also employed to pluck junked vehicles from the gorges of Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve. Instead of putting their people and the environment at risk by manually shifting individual pieces, this community wisely invested between $8-10K in a helicopter to transport all materials in one day.

With its payload of 2,000 lbs and bundles of redwood timber, laminated trusses, and hardware, the Sikorsky S58 flew to mountaintops in the newly established Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve.


Big Sky Resort Montana

Big Sky Resort is a world-class ski resort located in Montana. They recently partnered with Erickson to build an aerial tram that transports skiers and snowboarders from the summit of Lone Peak to its base area. This project required materials to be ferried up the steep slopes by helicopters.

The masterful pilots executed a mission using their specialized Black Hawk Helicopter for the crucial stages of Swift Current 6 construction. To begin, they transported massive pieces of equipment to the top terminal, almost finished. Subsequently, they disposed of the old Swift Current quad towers and fitted new ones with their cross-arms.

The towers range in weight from 5,000 to 7,000 pounds, depending on their height. They completed over 200 trips with our helicopter to deliver the necessary materials for construction.

A helicopter was deployed to deliver concrete to the towers that are difficult to access by truck. Each load was approximately 5,000 pounds of concrete, requiring 140 trips to transport over 550,000 pounds over two days.

McCormack Building Generator Removal

A helicopter was summoned to finish the massive $37 million construction project in Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood.

A chopper with the strength to lift to 15,000 pounds - a rarity among its kind as only two exist in the entire nation - carefully transported six pieces of an immense generator and placed it on top of 1 Ashburton Place's McCormack Building. Because of the steep and narrow streets on Beacon Hill, which posed a challenge to the project initiated in 2020, a crane could not be used to complete it.

Atlanta skyline

Georgia's Own Credit Union Building

A Sikorsky S-64 Aircrane helicopter, commonly known as a “flying crane,” is set to transport 160 tons of steel across Atlanta airspace to construct an immense electronic sign that will replace the iconic "Equitable" marquee Downtown.

For fifty years, the iconic 32-story Equitable Building on Peachtree Street has proudly towered over Woodruff Park and once boasted a glowing sign with its insurance company's name. In May 2017, the iconic sign was extinguished after Zeller Realty Group purchased the historic building. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before it was permanently removed altogether.

Georgia's Own Credit Union, the pride of the building, will have its logo prominently displayed in an area once occupied by Equitable Life Insurance - a spectacular vantage point to show its brand.

Two majestic, 174-foot-long digital LED signs are replacing the existing signage and will showcase the credit union's logo and light up with news about local charity opportunities and community outreach events.

Helicopters have become invaluable tools in the construction industry, enabling professionals to tackle complex jobs easily. From delivering heavy materials over rugged terrain to hoisting massive generators, choppers are an efficient and cost-effective way for projects to stay on track. By employing these powerful flying machines, companies can complete their project faster, safer, and with fewer complications. From trusses to entire buildings, helicopters are helping the construction industry take on complex missions with ease.

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