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kevinbroderick.com » Blog Archive » The Flying of the Towers

The Flying of the Towers


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So yesterday (8 November 2005) was the Flying of the Towers. A large helicopter landed in the Sports Center parking lot early in the morning and then sat there until the clouds lifted sufficiently around noontime. The Free Press, The Times Argus, channel 3, and channel 5 all covered the event.

How does it work?

From what I gathered by watching, the short version of installing lift towers goes like this:

  1. Build forms, pour concrete (by helicopter, most likely), and let concrete set for a sufficient amount of time (with metal anchors to which the towers will attach protruding)
  2. Have the towers ready to install, lined up and organized in a staging area accessible by helicopter
  3. Have the crossarms ready to install, lined up and organized in a staging area accessible by helicopter
  4. Rent a Big Helicopter with an experienced pilot (evidently, you can have the crossarms and towers assembled, but then you need a Really Big Helicopter)
  5. Assemble a team of installers with the proper equipment and training at the top tower site
  6. Have said helicopter pick up a tower and fly it to the top tower site, where it will be guided into place and then bolted down by that team of installers (by "bolted down" I should clarify that the protruding metal from the foundations appears to be threaded and the installation requires large nuts that then hold the tower in place)
  7. Have a specially-picked member of the installation team must then climb up the tower and detach it from the helicopter’s sling
  8. Have the helicopter fly back down to the staging area and pick up the appropriate crossarm for the tower that was just installed.
  9. While four members of the team on the ground pull on guide wires attached to the crossarm, have the helicopter pilot cooperate with the two team members near the top of the tower and lower the crossarm into place (note: crossarms in this project weighed up to 6,000 lbs.)
  10. While helicopter is hovering overhead, have the team member who just managed to guide the crossarm into place attach fasteners that affix it to the tower, then have him climb onto the crossarm and detach the sling from the helicopter
  11. Repeat until you run out of tower sites

I took some pictures, so check out the Vista Images page on the Bolton Valley website. Trying to hold a camera steady while standing in a rotor wash is fun, although probably not nearly as fun as trying to get a three-ton crossarm to line up properly. (Note that not all of the images there are mine, though; the last eight were taken by someone else with a Digital Rebel and a dirty sensor.)

One Response to “The Flying of the Towers”

  1. ivan Says:

    hi kevin
    nice web page dude
    i didint know u write aswell
    that gives the pictures areason to be there
    its an awsome hoby man…. keep i t up !!!
    i love the one of kim just about to fall, i guess i’ve been there many times . jajajaa… by the way say hi to them since i didnt get to say good bye…
    this is only my 3rd day away from Bolton, but it feels like a year
    miss home…

    lets keep in touch ..

    your chilean friend

    ivan ..