helicopter stringing new power lines along Tin Can Bay Rd Photo Craig Warhurst / The Gympie Times
helicopter stringing new power lines along Tin Can Bay Rd Photo Craig Warhurst / The Gympie Times Craig Warhurst

Why is there a chopper hovering over Gympie?

ENERGEX crews have been very busy and conspicuous in Gympie streets and in the skies above Gympie for the past 10 days carrying out their annual inspection.

The inspection is part of a broader check of the south-east Queensland electricity network and should be completed in Gympie by tomorrow (Friday).

Each year Energex patrols around 15,000km of south-east Queensland's electricity network by helicopter - that's the equivalent of a trip from Brisbane to Singapore and back.

Helicopter inspections will supplement extensive vehicle and foot patrols as part of a comprehensive maintenance and upgrading program for the electricity distribution network.

The helicopter patrols allow surveyors to safely and efficiently identify any existing damage or wear and tear which could become potential risks to the electricity network.

A bird's eye view of the electricity network allows Energex to detect deterioration on the topside of poles and cross arms and identify overgrown vegetation impacting on the network not easily visible from the ground.

The helicopter patrols reduce the amount of time to survey an area, being twice as fast as vehicle patrols on overhead powerlines that follow roads, and 20 times quicker on powerlines in rugged terrain or on private property.

Specialised helicopter pilots trained in surveying electricity networks will conduct the inspections using high-resolution digital cameras and GPS equipment.

The nature of the patrols means the helicopters will need to fly at relatively low altitudes and may also need to turn widely or cross properties to follow the powerlines.

Every attempt will be made to minimise inconvenience to residents and livestock.

The flying schedule is dependent on weather conditions, so it can be difficult to provide specific information; however special consideration is given to residents with livestock or medical concerns.

Registered residents will be notified prior to expected chopper pass over times. To be on the notification list, please register on www.energex.com.au