OHT Aerial Group Flying their Old Coop
The OHT Aerial Group will be lifting off to new heights from a new location.
The new location is the DeKalb Municipal Airport, in the middle of the DeKalb county and the ComEd territory. The location offers several improvements to their previous hanger. The improvements include better security for material and equipment and a hanger dedicated to their aircraft, where previously it was shared. It also provides improved facilities for meetings, personal and work gear storage, and clean up areas.
The group consists of a small number of specialized Overhead Electricians (OE) assigned in the Overhead Transmission Department. An OE, often wearing specialized gear called a Faraday suit, can work on live, high-power lines by being transported to the lines in a helicopter. The OE can perform maintenance and construction while sitting on an outrigger platform attached to the helicopter while the aircraft hovers next to the line. When approaching the line a long wand is touched to the line to equalize the potential of the aircraft to that of the line, then a breakaway bonding wire connected to the helicopter's frame is attached to the line during work. Alternatively the worker can transfer to the wires from the helicopter and crawl down the wires, then be picked up by the helicopter after the work is completed.
From inspections to construction and maintenance, they perform their work from the highest points on the system.