Linemen performing work by helicopter to help keep power on - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Linemen performing work by helicopter to help keep customer power on

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If you are one of those people who does not like heights, you would not want to climb a ladder that is literally hanging in the sky.

"There's always somebody that thinks we're a little crazy," laughs Joe Stambaugh of Haverfield Aviation, Inc. "May have to be a little bit to do it."

They may be a little crazy, but they are looking out for you. They have been hired by Virginia Dominion Power. They arrive at work by MD500 helicopter and are lowered by helicopter onto power poles that stretch 100 feet in the air.

"The best way I put it is: ‘We take all the work out of getting to the job site,"' says Stambaugh.

The men work for Haverfield Aviation in Gettysburg, Pa. Most have been linemen for power companies before so they are accustomed to danger.

"We're not adrenaline junkies," says Stambaugh. "We're not out here to get a fix. It's just our cup of tea."

What they are replacing on Monday in Manassas Park, Va. are insulators. They are long metal pieces that are part of the transmission lines. They wear out in about 15 years.

So far, the ones they are working on are OK. But if they stop working, hundreds of thousands of people could lose power.

"We know these insulators are about 15 years old and typically at 15 years, they do fail," says Virginia Dominion Power's Le-Ha Anderson. "So rather than wait for them to fail, we're replacing them to ensure that our customers have their lights when they want them."

"Right now, what he's doing is he's already grounded the line out, and he's already rigged up his hoist, and they're taking the old insulator out and they're going to put a new insulator in," says Ron Vandiver.

You will be glad to know the power is turned off. Virginia Dominion's been using helicopters for maintenance since the 1990s. They call it a better view, faster and less expensive.

"These lines can go across rivers," says Anderson. "They can go across bigger bodies of water. They can go across wetlands, and the work that we're doing here allows us to be able to have easier access to the transmission lines."

Haverfield crews helped restore power after Hurricane Sandy.

Vandiver says they are proud and focused. And, yes, they are hiring.

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