Have you ever wanted a job that combines high-voltage electrical repair work with dangling from a helicopter into one super life-threatening profession? If so, Haverfield Aviation might have a position for you. The company specializes in servicing power lines that exist in some of the country’s most dangerous and unforgiving locations. It gets better. These locations can only be accessed by helicopter. The job takes a highly-skilled aerial lineman who hangs out of a helicopter to help keep the national electrical grid in fine, working order.
Editor’s Note: Check out our best work boots for electricians article to see our top picks.
What is an Aerial Lineman or Helicopter Lineman
The job of an aerial lineman (or helicopter lineman) includes installing and maintaining overhead power lines or cabling for electrical grids. Essentially, they work on tall power distribution systems. The work specifically involves replacing conductors and lines between substations along with other components. The use of helicopters improves efficiency. It removes the need for accessing hard-to-reach substations and towers by vehicle. Remember, these areas could be located in the middle of nowhere on hilly terrain.
Accessing these areas remotely also cuts down on the impact on the environment. It eliminates the need for roads or the destruction of foliage in order to gain access to these areas and equipment.
The Challenges of an Aerial Lineman
As it turns out, keeping the electricity up and running is easier said than done. To service the electrical grid, an aerial lineman throws on a safety harness. He then dangles from the side of a helicopter hundreds of feet in the air. To make the whole situation even more insane, an aerial or helicopter lineman often needs to have his or her tools within arm’s reach at all times. This means they’ll sometimes have a chainsaw tethered to themselves while hanging from a helicopter.
The helicopter pilots don’t have a walk in the park either. These pilots spend many business hours in what they call “Deadman’s Curve.” It’s an altitude and airspeed combination that pilots avoid because of its statistically higher chance of ending in fatality. However, Haverfield Aviation trains its pilots to fly in exactly these difficult circumstances.
Is This the Most Dangerous Job in the World?
Working around high-powered lines in normal circumstances is pretty dangerous all by itself. In fact, dozens of power-line workers die each year. Adding in the extenuating circumstances revolving around helicopters and high-flying power tool usage, the potential danger becomes even more intense.
“Helicopters are dangerous. Power lines are dangerous. When you put the two together, you have double danger…you have to always be alert, always be on your A-game. It doesn’t take much voltage to stop your heart…there’s little chance of survival if you get into something bad.”John Brooks, aerial lineman for Haverfield Aviation, in a CNBC interview
How Much Money Does a Helicopter Lineman Make?
Lots. For those who have the stones to get into this line of work, the compensation can be considerable. The median salary for a power line worker falls around $78,300 depending on their region. Aerial linemen, on the other hand, can make a whole lot more. Workers with experience can quickly begin to make more than $100,000 per year.
What Are You Waiting For?
So, for those of you who need the potentiality of imminent death to spice up your workweek, you might look into becoming an aerial lineman. Let’s face it—most of us chumps will make our living either stuck in an office somewhere or outside sweating off our proverbial gumdrops.
With a cautious frame of mind and an appreciation for adrenaline-pumping situations, you could make an excellent living. You’ll just be dangling from the side of a helicopter…next to some power lines…100 feet in the air with tools in hand.
For more information on becoming an aerial or helicopter lineman, Haverfield aviation, or applying for the most dangerous job in the world, visit the company’s website.