A Kaman K-MAX Aerial Truck flown by Skywork Helicopters, a leading provider of helicopter services in New Zealand and Australia, recently lifted six sections of a 120-ft electrical power transmission tower perfectly into place, enabling construction workers to bolt the sections together and complete the entire tower assembly in less than a day.
The K-MAX, dubbed SKYMAX by its operators, flew 935 km (581 miles) from Skywork's facility in Wollongong, New South Wales, to erect the tower, part of a major construction project installing a new 14-km, 132 kV power line in Karara, Queensland, north of Brisbane.
The transmission tower's sections, containing cross members with insulators and rollers for threading power lines, weighed up to 2,200kg (4,850 lbs), well within the K-MAX's 2,722 kg (6,000-lb) maximum load capacity. Skywork pilot Euan Stratford relied on the unique K-MAX intermeshing rotor system's exceptional stability, hovering up to 30 minutes for each lift to place the tower sections over the structure so riggers could fasten the sections with bolts quickly and safely. Throughout the operation, Stratford remained in continuous radio communication with riggers and construction crew members on the ground with guide ropes to adjust sections with complete precision.
The K-MAX handled the tower assembly after soggy ground, saturated from heavy rainfall in the construction area, prevented planned use of a heavy crane to lift the pre-assembled structure into place. The K-MAX's external load capacity enabled the construction crew to move forward without further delay and minimal modifications to the structure's sections.
"I was quite impressed with the performance of the K-MAX," said Trevor Carroll, the construction manager at the site, "Personally, I have worked under other heavy lift helicopters in the past and must say that down-draft and engine noise from the K-MAX was very minimal in comparison to some others. I was still able to speak with the climbing crew, and they could hear me." Carroll explained.
"K-MAX is often specifically requested for jobs like this where its low rotor wash and low noise levels reduce the risk to personnel perched on structures," added Bob Manaskie, general manager of Kaman Helicopters Aftermarket Group. "Its precision hovering capability and excellent visibility makes it safer and easier to perform such precision lift work."
Source: Skywork Helicopters _________________ R22 2.6 h/r wanting more, a hell of a lot more
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