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LUMA Completes Helicopter Lift Operation on Transmission Line

Jan. 16, 2024
Repairs on this 70-year-old transmission line have increased reliability for 25,000 customers.

LUMA completed a groundbreaking helicopter lift operation as part of its ongoing infrastructure improvement efforts at the Dos Bocas to Ciales transmission line. LUMA coordinated and achieved the lifting of Structure 125, an essential component of Line 36100.

The helicopter assigned for this mission was the Super Puma, renowned for its robust lifting capabilities. The lift, which started at 11:25 am, saw the powerful helicopter hoist a fully assembled Guyed V-string tower to its intended location. The Super Puma was well-equipped for the task at hand. The tower being lifted weighed 6,986 lbs, and the entire operation lasted a little under 30 minutes.

The work area was divided into three zones to ensure the safety of all field workers, allowing for a timely and secure completion of the operation. The Landing Zone, dedicated to observation, accommodated four employees. The Traffic Control Zone managed the closure of the roadway along the flight path, while the third location, where the pole was set, engaged an additional 14 workers in the intricate operation.

Dr. Shay Bahramirad, Senior VP of Engineering and Asset Management and Capital Program for LUMA, emphasized the significance of these safety measures, stating, "The division of work zones is a critical component of our commitment to the well-being of our field workers. It not only ensured their safety during the intricate helicopter lift operation but also facilitated a well-coordinated and efficient workflow. Safety is paramount in all our operations.”

This operation is part of LUMA's comprehensive plan for Line 36100, which was constructed in the 1950s without a documented maintenance history. The segment of the line where the structure is located is underperforming, and its repair will benefit thousands of customers. The segment under consideration involves the replacement of 129 structures, with the helicopter being used for 70 of them. The coordinated outages required for this work are strategically planned to take place only on weekends, with no expected disruption to customers. The decision to employ helicopter-assisted operations was required by the unique geographical challenges posed by each structure's location.

Dr. Bahramirad highlighted, "The groundbreaking aspect of these operations lies in the revolutionary method of transportation. Our commitment to innovation persists, driven by the goal of delivering unparalleled benefits to our customers and contributing to the progress of Puerto Rico's energy landscape."

LUMA is at the forefront of transforming the electrical transmission and distribution system in Puerto Rico and remains committed to utilizing innovative solutions to enhance the reliability and resilience of Puerto Rico's energy infrastructure.

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