Powerlink Queensland is using a low-flying helicopter to carry out routine maintenance inspections of high voltage transmission lines across Queensland.
The helicopter inspections will be occurring in Central Queensland from September to October, North Queensland from September to November and Far North Queensland during October, in preparation for the upcoming summer season.
Powerlink Chief Executive Merryn York said the aerial inspections were being undertaken as part of Powerlink’s annual summer readiness activities to ensure the safety and reliability of the transmission network during storm and cyclone season.
“These helicopter inspections will enable our specialist field crews to examine our transmission lines, and as part of these activities, where necessary, high pressure water sprays will be used to wash the insulators located near the top of the steel towers,” Ms York said.
“Local residents may see the helicopter moving relatively quickly and at a low level along the transmission lines, and in some instances, the helicopter may pause to spray the insulators.
“Highly-trained pilots fly the helicopters, which are fitted with long booms that spray demineralised water at high pressure to clean the insulators.”
Ms York said the helicopter pilot would endeavour to maintain the maximum distance practically possible from houses, livestock and crops, and be as quick and non-disruptive as possible.
“As with all of our activities, we want to minimise any potential disturbance to local communities near our infrastructure,” she said.
“We understand that low-flying helicopters have the potential to startle some livestock such as horses and cattle, and encourage people with any questions about the patrols to contact us for further information.
“We appreciate the cooperation and patience of the local community while this essential work is carried out,” she said.
Ms York said preparations for the upcoming summer were ongoing and included activities such as resource planning, emergency exercises, vegetation management, and inspections and maintenance of transmission lines and substations.