Did you know helicopters have been supporting the utility construction industry for over 70 years? The first helicopter certified for civilian use became available in 1947, and helicopters have only grown more efficient and reliable since then.
Nowadays, construction project managers frequently hire helicopter crane services to lend cost-effective support to all types of utility construction jobs, from power line and pipeline installation to aerial inspections and maintenance.
Below, we’ll tackle 4 key areas of utility construction and explain how helicopters can help you complete your project on time and under budget.
1. Power line installation
Helicopter pilots and their experienced linemen can provide the construction support and specialized services you need for your power line construction project, from the initial project survey to the final inspection.
Maybe you need to replace old electric power transmission lines to ensure electric reliability for your customers. Or perhaps your project involves upgrading an area’s power supply from wooden transmission structures to sturdier steel poles.
No matter the type of power line project, an aerial crane can help you tackle the various challenges and tasks required to successfully complete the job, including:
- Pouring foundation
- Setting poles
- Erecting towers
- Stringing wires
- Finalizing conductors
2. Power line patrol and maintenance
Utility helicopters are also beneficial for routine power line inspections and maintenance work. Highly skilled pilots are capable of flying through the wire environment while their trained airborne crew members perform visual inspections of your electric utilities’ structures and conductors and identify intrusion of elements that could pose a threat to the energy grid.
Once your hired crew has identified potential hazards, they can perform the necessary power line maintenance and emergency repairs required to avoid disruption of the power grid and subsequent revenue loss.
Helicopter-aided maintenance services for energy lines may include installation, repair, or replacement of:
- Aerial markers or warning signs
- Aircraft warning spheres
- Airflow spoilers
- Anti-galloping devices
- Bird diverter devices
- Conductor spacers
- Cross-arm and davit arms
- Knee braces
- Lightning and surge arresters
- Shield wires
- Suspension hardware
- Tower sections
3. Pipeline installation
Helicopter lifting services are also a viable option for speeding up your pipeline construction project. Transporting pipeline via traditional means can be incredibly time-consuming, and slow-moving projects often end up being more expensive in the long run.
Helicopter cranes, on the other hand, are capable of transporting hefty pieces of pipeline in less than half the time, thus saving you money and resources.
Here are a few ways in which aerial cranes can assist your pipeline construction project:
- Pouring foundation
- Placing monopole and lattice structures
- Hauling materials such as pallets and concrete
- Transporting machinery
4. Pipeline patrol and maintenance
Aerial patrol of pipeline can be extremely beneficial to project managers in the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries, as pipeline inspections and repairs ensure that potentially catastrophic leaks and failures do not occur. Helicopter pipeline inspections are also far more efficient and less expensive than traditional means of performing surveys and assessments.
Your hired helicopter crew can perform essential tasks such as:
- Visually inspecting natural gas, oil, and fuel pipelines
- Observing changes in the area such as erosion, slope, or vegetation abnormalities
- Noting exposed pipes or missing signs or markers
- Identifying physical and chemical leaks and encroachment of elements that could pose a risk (before they become costly issues)
- Using cameras, gyroscopic balanced binoculars, infrared sensors, and other advanced imaging technology to perform detailed aerial inspections
Here are some common pipeline issues helicopters can patrol for:
- Broken terraces
- Construction on or adjacent to the right-of-way
- Encroachments onto the right-of-way
- Exposed pipe
- Heavy traffic across the right-of-way
- Land erosion
- Pipeline releases
- Sunken backfill
Benefits of hiring helicopter construction services for utility installation and patrol
Aerial installation and inspection of utilities via helicopter are often more cost-effective than other means of patrol, as helicopters are capable of covering large areas of remote power lines and pipeline in less time. They’re more agile and precise than airplanes and other aircraft and they offer more versatile load capabilities.
Utility helicopters are especially beneficial for power line and pipeline construction and patrols in remote areas, as they’re often permitted to access environmentally protected areas where traditional ground cranes may not be allowed. They’re more reliable in high temperatures, high altitudes, high-pressure areas, and largely inaccessible regions (such as mountains, hills, forests, and swamps), and they have a minimal impact on surrounding environments.
If you’re ready to hire helicopter construction services for your utility project, contact Helicopter Express to learn how we can assist you.
Not quite ready to get a quote? Explore “14 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Heavy-Lift Helicopter Service” or “6 Things You Should Know Before Hiring Helicopter Construction Services.”