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TVA Employs Diverse Aircraft Fleet to Keep Power Flowing

Posted by jhadmin

It’s not easy for a power company to chalk up a 99.999 percent electricity reliability rating, but the Tennessee Valley Authority has been doing it for the last 19 years straight. Helicopter pilots and linemen are an integral part of this achievement. People outside the industry sometimes envision these pilots and linemen as a bit loony, and for good reason. The Tyler benches attached to the outside of helicopters commonly touch 500,000-volt electricity lines while linemen transfer themselves from the benches onto towers that stand as high as 300 feet in the air. While the lines are de-energized, their proximity to the helicopters and their spinning rotor blades is hair-raising to the uninitiated. Ask TVA Helicopter Operations Manager Adam Hammond whether the pilot or lineman is loonier, and he’ll quickly point to the other guy. “Definitely the lineman,” Hammond said. “They’re out there operating in all kinds of weather to get the power back on.” When rain grounds the helicopters, the linemen have to climb the towers instead. [Read More...]

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