By: Greg Williamson
CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — Residents and drivers in the St. Bethlehem area may have seen a helicopter hovering above the Tennessee Valley Authority power lines recently.
George Denton, a pilot for Haverfield Aviation, holds a small black helicopter steady as linesmen Jorge Magdalena, of Miami, Fla., sits on a small platform outside the aircraft and works on the lines.
On top of TVA towers, shield wire is being changed to fiber-optic shield wire. The project started Oct 15 in west Nashville.
From the ground, foreman James Lee watches as the work progress and the crew hovers 100 to 120 feet above. At times, the little chopper sways.
“Jorge thinks I do it on purpose,” Denton said. “But sometimes the winds get a little strong.”
“We are expected to complete the job on Feb. 1,” said Lee, adding that Haverfield provides aerial power line inspection and construction support in the U.S. and has a growing business abroad.
“After Hurricane Sandy hit, Haverfield had many of its helicopter fleet out to help ground crews,” Lee said.
He explain that using helicopters is more efficient than going from tower to tower, and the work doesn’t bother landowners because ground crews could cause damage to their property.
Clarksville Police assisted by securing Wilma Rudolph Boulevard as the helicopter flew back and forth.