TARGET 070606

High Tension Cable Inspector

Not everyone has a desk job. For some, the open air is the best working environment, and they work closely with nature, facing the elements daily.

Take, for example, the inspectors and repairmen of those wires which stretch from one high tension tower to another. Well, someone has to go up there and do it.

Quite different from the person who goes out in a truck and rides a crane up to where he can reach the lines, these lines are sometimes a hundred feet off the ground. So how do the workmen get up there?
By helecopter, of course. He rides on the outside of the helicopter because it is easier to climb off the landing gear than it is to climb out of a door and onto the high tension wires.

Once he gets to the wires, both he and the helicopter must be brought up to the same voltage as that running through the wires. If not, he would immediately be electrocuted. So, he takes a metal wand which is conntected to the helicopter frame and holds it out towards the wires until lightning starts jumping across. As the helicopter slowly charges up to the same voltage, he brings the wand closer and closer until there are no more sparks at all. Now the wires, the helicopter, and he, himself, are all charged up to the same high voltage.

He then has to climb off the helicopter's landing gear and onto the wires. He first hangs his bag of tools out onto the wires and then a small sliding platform on which he will spend the rest of his workday. He then crawls out onto the wiring himself.

As the helicopter leaves, he must once again hold the wand out to it so it can discharge back to neutral voltage. If not, it would discharge when the helicopter touched down to the ground.

His workday from here consists of sliding his platform along the line and inspecting and/or repairing the line as he goes.

At the end of the day, he gets a free ride back to the office.

If you would like to see a video of the event, click here

(The file is rather large, so please be patient for the download - it's well worth the wait.)