From accounting to zoo keeping, there are endless ways to earn a living and some jobs have an element of excitement and danger but someone has to do them. Today, I got a close look at one of those jobs.
This afternoon, a helicopter hovering at the top of the hill behind our house drew us out to see what all the noise was about.
A line dangled below the helicopter and disappeared down behind trees so we couldn’t see what was on the end.
Then it very slowly lifted to reveal …
… a pair of linesmen.
That tickled our curiosity and we headed up the hill to see what was going on, at speed and without stopping. (I did wonder if I would be able to hold the camera still when I got to the top, I was so puffed.) The helicopter inched along, parallel to a set of power lines …
… then lowered it’s dangling cargo to the lines.
A linesman told me that New Zealand was the only country where maintenance was done on live power lines like this. These are major lines, part of the National Grid and I guess it’s not easy to disconnect the power without causing widespread disruption. In the past, we’ve even seen them replace poles without turning the power off.
The apparatus left of the linesmen moved along the line from the pylon towards them, a tool to help check the wires and joints.
And when they were finished, the helicopter lifted them off the lines and flew away with it’s precious cargo alive and well and enjoying an uninterrupted view.
You have to admire the courage and skill of the linesmen and the helicopter pilot and the ultimate mutual trust that allows them to put their lives in each other’s hands.
The power company always gives us warning they will be working on lines on our property. This time the notice said ‘ Helicopters are a vital part of inspecting and maintaining transmission lines. They may be used for visual inspections and line access and maintenance.’ They didn’t mention we were going to be treated to this kind of stunt.