Moments after the pilot lifted the Bell 206 JetRanger into a hover on a flight many years ago, I choked back a gasp and found myself almost frozen, unable to key the intercom mic button as a spiderweb of powerlines suddenly manifested themselves in front of the helicopter. All I had time to do was quickly point out the front windshield at the power lines, which neither of us had seen when we landed nor during the two hours we had hung around waiting for our passenger to return in a relatively remote location next to a river.
Electric power distribution
Peerless Electronics is now distributing the full line of Master Lock aviation safety products, including the new aircraft circuit breaker lockout/tagouts. The S2329 Master Lock aircraft circuit breaker lockout prevents accidental re-energizing of an electrical system by locking a circuit breaker in the “off” position. They assist in FAA and OSHA compliance for lockout/tagout (aircraft LOTO) systems. S2329’s universal fit accommodates long or short aircraft circuit breakers, with or without collars and with three- and six-prong power receptacles.
The FAA continues to warn both rotary- and fixed-wing pilots of the danger posed by communications and meteorological towers being erected across the U.S. According to a 2012 American Wind Energy Association report, more than 45,000 wind turbines alone are now operating in the U.S., many less than 200 feet in height.
The FAA has issued an Airworthiness Directive for the AgustaWestland A109S requiring the modification of the electrical power distribution system to carry a higher electrical load. It was prompted by an electrical failure that resulted from inadequate functioning of the 35 amperes “Batt Bus” circuit breaker.
The breakdown in power supplies that caused serious disruption throughout India in late July has prompted the country’s government to draw up plans for using helicopters to support patrolling and restoring transmission lines. Government-owned Power Grid, which runs five separate electricity grids across India, is expected to issue requests for proposals for acquiring or leasing rotorcraft to be better prepared next time the grid fails or is damaged during an emergency such as an earthquake.