Powerline Safety and Load Stabilization Systems 

by Max Bublitz

Powerline installation and maintenance is dangerous work, primarily when workers are located directly under the rotor wash of a helicopter. The swing and spin of external cargo below a helicopter can be hard to mitigate and control, and operations can quickly spiral out of hand. Vita Inclinata’s Load Stability Systems – The Vita Rescue System and the Vita Load Navigator can mitigate the swing of suspended loads under helicopters.  

There are over 200,000 miles of powerlines in the United States alone, and some of these lines span remote locations inaccessible to ground crews. When these lines need maintenance, linemen must be flown in and hung below the helicopter to work on the lines. While suspended beneath the helicopter, linemen are subject to the spin from rotor wash, winds, and weight. They often hold onto the lines to stabilize themselves, leading to shocks, burns, or even death. 

The Vita Rescue System (VRS) is a stabilization device that attaches to baskets below helicopters. Equipped with advanced gyroscopic sensors, the VRS continuously checks for changes in direction and corrects back to its user-set heading using four thrusters. This auto-correction eliminates spin and swing, allowing lineman to work without the needing to grab onto active lines with the worry of their basket spinning out of control.  

Just like powerline maintenance, the installation process can be a daunting task. Some large transmission towers are over 150 feet tall and can weigh up to 10,000 pounds. These lines are commonly installed using helicopters, with some larger electrical pylons assembled in segments. The ability to control the orientation of these large towers is essential. When installed in parts, the pieces need to be stacked together and aligned using only a few contact points.  

The same technology behind the VRS is used to control suspended loads with the Vita Load Navigator (VLN), but on a much larger scale. The VLN is used to control heavy loads up to 80,000 pounds and can orient and place objects within one degree of accuracy. As a result, the VLN can reduce the amount of time needed to install these towers, reducing pilot fatigue and saving fuel, thereby making operations more efficient and safer for pilots and linemen.