Xcel Using Helicopters For Power Line Work

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota state officials are advising drivers who travel Interstate 90 east of Sioux Falls that they might see helicopters helping with power line repair work starting Thursday.

Xcel Energy will be using helicopters for work on transmission lines near I-90 from Exit 402 to Lakefield, Minn., east of Worthington, Minn.

Traffic flow will not be disrupted, but motorists in that area can expect to see a helicopter flying close to the power lines each day for about 2 1/2 weeks. The company’s construction crews are replacing existing shield wire with fiber optic wire.

Motorists are asked to drive carefully and keep their eyes on the road.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Realist

    What kind of whirlybird is that?

    That’s assuming this is a legit photo and not another semi-relevant stock photo some low-ranking human (aka intern) scrounged up from a stock image collection.

  • Choppa

    Looks like an MH-6.

    • Whitey Fjord

      Same airframe, just the civilian version of it. Hughes Model 369.

      • Swamp Fox

        @Whitey Fjord & Realist;
        This helo is modified for high voltage, high-line electrical work such as we see in Minnesota. The technician lineman who sits on the external platform wears a special suit that is grounded to the helicopter. This arrangement allows the tech to work on unpowered and hot powered cables without getting fried and killed.

        Recently this type of electrical power-line work was featured on Discovery and National Geographic Channels as being one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. Even the helo pilot has to be rated for this dangerous specialty flying. This activity has been going on for the past few months along I-94 West of the TC’s for months.

        History is being made daily in real time withe construction of this new power line. It’s a sight to behold as the Interstate traffic whizzes by. Check it out!

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