Helicopters used for bushfire safety patrol
Low-flying helicopters seen flying around Ettalong and Woy Woy recently may have been an electricity provider's bushfire safety patrol.
Ausgrid chief operating officer Mr Trevor Armstrong said the patrols started on July 18 and were focusing on areas of the Ausgrid network for any potential bushfire hazards and flying lower than helicopters normally would.
He said the helicopter's presence would have been most noticeable around Ettalong and Woy Woy but were also in surrounding areas.
"Safety is our highest priority and these patrols are a key part of our annual bushfire safety program to help identify and rectify any potential defects that might pose a bushfire risk.
"This year we have contracted two specialist helicopters to allow the patrols to be finished by the end of June, well before the start of the next bushfire season in September," Mr Armstrong said.
He said the helicopter flights were the safest and most efficient way to inspect high-voltage powerlines and Ausgrid would remove or repair any hazards identified on the network during and soon after the patrols.
"The patrols reduce safety risks for our own people, because by using a helicopter, we can identify potentially dangerous hazards from above without putting our workers at risk.
The specialist crews are using laser scanning equipment and taking high-resolution photographs to identify any hazards on our poles and wires and trees growing too close to powerlines.
"Using the photographs means our own workers don't need to be placed in a position of having to examine damaged equipment up close," Mr Armstrong said.
"The helicopters fly between 15 and 35km per hour and have been modified to allow for the quietest possible operation".
Media release, 18 Jun 2019
Trevor Armstrong, Ausgrid NSW
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