Big Bird Provides Big Lift

An Erickson Skycrane helicopter carries a section of transmission tower to the work site.

October 26, 2018

FirstEnergy Utilities took to the air in a big way to repair a West Penn Power transmission tower damaged in a September gas line explosion.

The company used a large Erickson Skycrane helicopter on Oct. 22-23 to ferry sections of a partially assembled steel tower to a remote location west of Pittsburgh. Crews have replaced or repaired most of the six 500-kilovolt towers destroyed or damaged in the explosion. However, the Skycrane craft was needed to set the remaining tower in rugged terrain inaccessible to conventional construction equipment. The 70-foot-long helicopter made several trips over two days, carrying pre-assembled tower sections to the foundation about one mile away.

Watch the FE-TV segment below.

The helicopter lowers a tower section into place.

Overseeing the helicopter operation are members of the FirstEnergy project team (l. to r.) Craig Bloom, Les Johns, Joe Grupp and Jeff Irons.