Helicopter Video Inspections Spot Corrosion on Australian Electrical Towers

Helicopters with specially designed inspection equipment are taking to the skies in Southern Queensland, Australia, to inspect small components on electricity transmission towers for possible signs of corrosion, according to transmission network owner Powerlink (Virginia, Queensland, Australia).

Merryn York, CEO of Powerlink, says the helicopters will be used to safely inspect the insulators—strings of porcelain or glass discs—located near the top of transmission towers.

“A fully insulated platform is fitted underneath the helicopter to enable a specialist linesman to sit outside the helicopter and carefully steer a camera attached to a five-meter insulating pole to record video of the insulator strings,” York says.

“The video footage recorded at selected towers is then reviewed to determine if any corrosion or contaminants can be found on the steel pins that join the insulator discs together,” she adds. “This technique is a time and cost effective way to inspect this equipment, which ultimately plays an essential role in ensuring the continued safe and reliable operation of our transmission network.”

York adds that crews plan to complete the work as quickly and non-disruptively as possible.

“We want to minimize any potential disturbance to local residents near our transmission lines while this important work is carried out,” the CEO says. “Highly trained helicopter pilots will endeavor to maintain the maximum distance practically possible from houses, livestock, and crops.”

The helicopter typically hovers for up to 10 minutes at each tower on which the insulator video inspection work is being done, Powerlink explains.

Source: Powerlink, powerlink.com.au.