Friday, September 13, 2019

Something Unexpected


I am fortunate to live in the flight paths of Denver International Airport
and Buckley Air Force Base, home of the 460th Space Wing.
That means I get to hear and see all kinds of interesting aircraft.
Often the sound of helicopters and fighter jets
has me running to our deck to search the skies.
I can't help it.  I was a Royal Canadian Air Force brat.

I hear helicopters almost every day, and they are often military helicopters
flying from Buckley to Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base, or other destinations.
Some people resent any aircraft flying over our community, but not me.  
I never tire of them.


Helicopter Last Weekend
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 8, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Sometimes, when I'm really focused on a task,
I ignore the helicopters and other aircraft I hear.
Such was the case last weekend
when I was working on our budget for September.
I heard and ignored the siren call of whirling rotors.
I thought, Maybe a Black Hawk on its way to Fort Carson.

But the sound of rotating blades did not increase and decrease.
They went on and on and on, circling near Piney Creek.
So as I was trying to make columns of figures balance,
I was thinking:  News helicopter? Police helicopter?  Flight for Life helicopter?

Finally my curiosity overcame my focus,
and I had to go out on my deck and see what was going on.

Helicopter
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 8, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




The helicopter had flashing red and blue lights
and hovered near an electrical transmission tower.
Police helicopter was looking like a good guess
until I noticed that a wire stretched out tautly behind the helicopter.

Helicopter
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 6, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




As I watched I realized that the helicopter was stringing wires 
from one electrical tower to another.
I thought it was an amazing bit of flying.

I've been watching for weeks as a second set of electrical towers
has marched across nearby hills parallel to the old power line.
Given the thousands and thousands of houses that have been built
in this area in the past twenty or so years,
it was not surprising to see a new power line under construction.


Sunday's Helicopter
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 8, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




I watched in awe for a while,
and then went back to the dreary task of budget numbers.

Monday I noticed the helicopter was back at it, and it droned all morning.
Finally I couldn't stand it any longer.  
I had to go down to Piney Creek and see the action closer up.

It had been at least two months since I walked along this portion of the open space,
and I was surprised to see a new road and tons of equipment littering the landscape.


Giant Cable Spools
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 9, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Transmission Lines, Road, and Equipment
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 9, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Nobody was around ~ They must have been on a lunch break ~  
So I stepped onto the site, snapped a couple of shots, and left quickly.

Transmission Lines, Road, and Equipment
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 9, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



I kept hoping the helicopter would show up.
After all it had been flitting about like a dragonfly most of the morning.
Now that I had shown up, it was nowhere to be seen.

I hung out in a nearby field pretending to be very interested in nature photography.

Waiting with Weeds
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 9, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Waiting with Weeds
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 9, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




After waiting for almost an hour, I finally gave up and headed for home.
Then suddenly I heard the rotors in the distance and ran north toward the sound.

Boy, was my patience rewarded!
And, boys oh boy, was I surprised!

Surprise
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 9, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



This time the helicopter wasn't stringing wires.
It was carrying a lineman from tower to tower.

Not the Job for Me!
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 9, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Monday's Helicopter
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 9, 2019 
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




The Transmission Line on the Right Is Live!
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 9, 2019 
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



It's hard to grasp how big these towers and their components are
until you see a man dangling beside them.

Lineman at Work
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 9, 2019 
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



I chased the helicopter with its dangling lineman from tower to tower
snapping photos as I ran.  These guys work fast!

The helicopter pilot would lower the lineman by three giant pulleys on one side of a tower,
and then he would hoist him up by three giant pulleys on the other side of the tower.

I don't know exactly what the lineman was doing, but he appeared to be making sure
that cables were feeding through the pulleys properly. 

But I do know this:  both he and the pilot were doing very dangerous work.

© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Moving from One Tower to the Next
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


I later read that helicopters are used when linemen work on 
high voltage, high-tension power lines that span huge distances.
The helicopters move them from one massive primary transmission tower to another
These towers can be 500 feet high and carry hundreds of kilovolts of power.



Moving Faster Than I Can Run
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





I also later learned that Xcel Energy is building 125 miles of new power lines
in its Pawnee-Daniels Park Project.
The 20-mile segment being constructed in our area runs
from the Harvest Mile Substation in Aurora
to the Daniels Park Substation in Castle Pines.
When finished the new power lines will carry 345 kilovolts (kV) of electricity.

(I find it difficult to understand what a volt is, but a kilovolt is a thousand of them ~ 
So it's a 345,000 volt power line.)
Article     Map 

© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


Moving Above the Trees
(middle left)
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




It wasn't long before the helicopter and the lineman outpaced me.
Fortunately, the helicopter lowered him to the ground,
for a well-deserved break I'm sure!

© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I'm so glad that curiosity got the better of me!
I had no idea that helicopters and dangling linesmen constructed power lines.
Actually I didn't know anything about constructing power lines.
I wouldn't have missed seeing this for anything.

Back to Reality
Upper Pond, Piney Creek
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Till next time ~
Fundy Blue


Waiting for the Ferry to Tiverton
Grand Passage, Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, Canada
July, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved








For Map Lovers Like Me:


Location of Aurora, Colorado, USA




Area Where I Took the Photographs
(by the asterisk in the lower middle)
Map Data © 2018 Google United States


Southern Aurora and Northern Parker
Map Data © 2019 Google United States





Adapted from a Sign in the Park
Red-Tailed Hawk Park
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




31 comments:

  1. Wow! Now that isn't something you see everyday. That is dangerous work and not in a million years would I let someone dangle me under a helicopter. But it gave you some amazing shots.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you, Alex! I can't imagine doing something like that. I certainly experienced a vicarious thrill. Have a great weekend!

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  2. Oh my goodness, I've never seen such a thing. Perhaps that is easier and safer than having him climb each tower. Plus he might not be able to reach some of those ares.

    We live near an AF base and when it's a different sound or really loud, I always go out to look.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Diane! I was reading about power line construction on line last night, and helicopters are used a lot. In many cases they are faster, safer, cheaper and have less of an environmental impact. I find electricity hard to understand at the best of times and harder well after midnight. Nevertheless, I was fascinated by what I was reading. We turn on a light switch and take it for granted that the light will come on, rarely thinking about all the incredible work that goes on to make this simple act possible. I hope you have an enjoyable weekend!

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  3. Wow what an interesting experience, and such wonderful photo's to match. Thanks for sharing.

    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy Friday, Yvonne! I really appreciated the chance to experience this. We live in an endlessly fascinating world! I hope that you are enjoying a lovely Friday. Terry just mentioned that the weather in Brighton (where his sister is right now) is beautiful.

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  4. Whoa! You just never know what you'll find when you follow your curiosity, do you? You could totally use some of this in a story! :)

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    Replies
    1. Grist for the gristmill, Madeline ~ LOL. It's too good not to use in a story sometime! Take care!

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  5. Very Nice! Great story,
    Thanks for sharing,
    Debbie in Amarillo

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  6. I am always so thankful for power, after our many camping trips where we used a generator, or gas stove, or fire. That seems to be very skilled and dangerous work, and each person relies on the other totally. What a thrill to be there and get those amazing photos. I wonder how many of us had no idea this was how high voltage lines are strung and the huge turntables that they run on. Thanks for the news and views, to think that this is all quite close to homes and public roads is incredible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Jean! I'm so grateful for power too! My extended family in Smith's Cove was without it for four days after the recent Hurricane Dorian. Fortunately they were only inconvenienced ~ lost a few branches, a tree here and there. And the Smith's Cove Fire Department came through for the village! People could stop by the fire station to warm up a meal, charge their phones, have coffee, or even a shower. I was thrilled to see the power line people at work. I went back again Saturday and saw some other amazing things. Also I talked with a power company rep for about 20 minutes, and I learned a lot about the project and power in Colorado. That was a thrill too! I hope that you had a great weekend! Mine was unexpectedly busy, but so much fun! Big hugs to you and Hugh!

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  7. A guy was at work and the loud fan was getting on his nerves so he shut if off. Which really upset the other guy in the helicopter.

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  8. Goodness! It sure makes you appreciate those who work in electrical that much more, doesn't it? Definitely not a job for me either, but some people live for that kind of rush. I had no idea this was how they worked the lines so far up, so I'm glad you were able to captures these incredible action shots to share with us. Thanks!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Theresa! I'm glad that you enjoyed the photos. I had such a thrill taking them. It amazes me, all the people who work every day to make our modern life function. I hope that you had a great weekend!

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  9. That is cool and amazing and I'm glad I'm not hanging from a helicopter.

    Love,
    Janie

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    Replies
    1. I'm not sure if anything could get me to hang from a helicopter, Janie! Wishing you a great week!

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  10. Wow, never knew they did that. That is sure a job where I hope they each get paid very well. Great you were able to catch them. Helicopters were still going around here to assess damage as of yesterday, fun times. No one hanging from ropes though. Just lots and lots of crews and lots and lots of overtime, ugg.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was glad to know that you and all my other favorite Nova Scotians made it through Hurricane Dorian's unwelcome visit, Pat. Thank goodness Nova Scotia wasn't hammered like the Bahamas! That was gut wrenching. Your "A Not So New World" kept me up well past 2:00 am on Friday night, as I read the last 120 or so pages. You had me going with P.A.T. ~ LOL. Jack and Emily were both sympathetic characters who had me rooting for them all the way through. A claustrophobic FBI agent was very funny. I had many wonderful professors throughout my years in university, but unfortunately I had a Professor Jones type too. I had the feeling "Professor Jones" was someone in your past. Great solution to the where and when ~ I can't wait to read more in the series. Every time I look at that time machine on the cover, I have to laugh. It's so ridiculous, but somehow it's absolutely perfect! All the best, my friend!

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    2. Yeah, everyone made it through, but it looks like a bomb went off in some spots. 54 hours overtime so far, uggg. I played a lot with this series, so much comes into play by the end of it, stuff you'd never even guess. Glad it was enjoyed, and yeah, the cat time machine is rather ridiculous, but it works. Had a Professor Jones type too, but he was a she.

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    3. What kind of overtime are you doing?

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    4. Basically the linesmen gopher lol

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    5. Very cool ~ and much safer! I'm getting the picture.

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  11. Wow Louise! You got some great shots there and I have to say I have never seen or heard anything like it! Thanks so much for sharing! :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Rain! I was really excited to get them. I couldn't believe my eyes! I'll never look at power lines the same way again. Have a great week!

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  12. I am such a nut because I would like to dangle out of the helicopter like that. How cool was that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll agree ~ You're a nut! LOL It was very cool!

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  13. I have seen helicopters work hauling timber, but this is amazing! That would be a scary job with the energized lines next to the new ones.

    Http://www.thepulpitandthepen.com

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    Replies
    1. Definitely a scary job, Sage! Have a good one!

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  14. i have seen helicopters so many times ,most of them belonged to army but never one that work for power towers
    such an incredibly INTERESTING post dear Louise i enjoyed each bit of it and i am so happy you left the budget making for while and did great job like this :)))

    new towers look different and better ,new power supply will meet the demand of power in the area well hopefully

    i hope your budget was made finally when you got back :)
    while reading each line i realized how amazing that we share almost same curiosity :)
    thank you for sharing your own happy delightful image ,it makes the JOY COMPLETE!

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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate the time and energy you put into making them very much.