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.
Electric power transmission
After three years of development and testing, Safe Flight Instrument’s “Powerline Detector” system for helicopters received FAA supplemental type certificate approval last month. The approval applies to the White Plains, N.Y.-based company’s own Aerospatiale Gazelle, and STCs for other helicopters will be sought as customer needs dictate.
Some three-and-a-half years ago, Safe Flight Instrument of White Plains, N.Y., received supplemental type certification for its Powerline Detection System (PDS) on the company’s own Aerospatiale SA341G Gazelle. Since then the Safe Flight system has been certified and installed on Eurocopter AS 350s, EC 135s and AS 365s and Mil Mi-17s flying in Australia, Korea, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland and the U.S.
Hughes 369D, Somis, Calif., Sept. 6, 2006–The pilot and a power-line inspector were killed when the Southern California Edison Hughes 369D, cruising about three miles from Somis, hit power lines. A witness reported that the helicopter “flew straight” into the power lines, became entangled and fell to the ground. There was no fire. The estimated elevation of the lines was about 75 feet agl.