Gliding just above the tree tops, a three-person helicopter crew inspects high-voltage power lines for overgrown vegetation, broken equipment and anything else that could disrupt service to customers. At Duke Energy, these crews fly more than 32,000 miles across seven states twice a year. It’s a hazardous job that requires extensive training and sustained, intense focus to notice little things like broken insulators while traveling 20 mph to 90 mph.
When they do notice a problem, the helicopter safely lowers and hovers near the pole while the crew makes a note for maintenance. On April 3, Duke Energy Chief Helicopter Pilot Roger Johnson took over the company’s Instagram account to show followers what it’s like to fly the lines. Here’s a recap of the day.
I have a routine I follow every day before a flight. I check the weather, perform a pre-flight inspection of the helicopter making sure all the big pieces are still attached. 🙂 Then, just prior to the flight, the entire crew will perform a crew briefing consisting of the patrol event. As a pilot and crew member safety is engrained in you. It isn't a part-time thing. It is taught form the very first lesson and reiterated each and every time we fly. . . . #dayinthelife #helicopter #pilot
During a typical power line inspection, approximately 300 - 400 miles a day are flown. Ideally we want the sun to our back and the wind in our face. Constant communication between crewmembers is key to survival. We want to make sure we have the best understanding of what we’re seeing and expressing that to all. On occasion we’ll need to circle back or hover for a closer look. . . . #dayinthelife #helicopter #pilot