Modern Marvels

Season 12 Episode 46

High Risk: Helicopter Linemen

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Aug 31, 2005 on The History Channel
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High Risk: Helicopter Linemen
AIRED:
The remarkable story of the men who maintain and repair live high-voltage power lines--an elite team of pilot and lineman that looks for damage and makes critical repairs without turning the power off! "Barehanding" involves a helicopter flying up to live power lines, stretching a metal wand out to the line and energizing the helicopter and lineman to the full strength of the power line. The lineman, wearing a special metal fiber suit, then works on the wire by sitting on the helicopter skid or climbing onto the bare line. This technique makes the lineman, chopper, and pilot all part of the electrical circuit with 345,000 volts running through both men and machine. For two days, we follow members of the USA Airmobile team in Wisconsin as they risk their lives to inspect and repair critical power lines that were struck by a tornado. And we trace the development of this high-risk work, conceived of in 1979 by Mike Kurtgis, our guide through its electric history.moreless

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