If you’ve seen a helicopter flying around Spokane’s South Hill recently, it’s most likely your friendly Avista crew upgrading power lines and replacing 1940’s-era wooden poles.
Relied on for jobs where the terrain is not conducive to ground equipment, helicopters can get the job done in the shortest amount of time, with the least environmental impact.
The process relies on pilots well-versed in utility line construction working with the ground crew, who are also highly qualified and trained to work with helicopters.
While the ground crew still digs the 9-to-12 foot holes, 3 feet in diameter—often by hand—when it’s time to place the poles, the pilot ferries them in using a helicopter designed for precise aerial agility.
Communicating via radio to the ground crew, the pilot maneuvers the poles into place, so that ground crews can get to work backfilling around the pole.
The pilot then strings the wire from pole to pole, which are pre-fit with a trapdoor assembly, locking the line into place.