Tag Archives: line

PG&E Heli Lift Training

I miss the amount of helicopter shooting I used to do.  Every once in a while I come across a help in action and I feel like it is a little victory.  One time it was the local sheriff’s department practicing line work and that showed up here.  On this occasion, I was coming away from an interview I had done for a GAR feature.  I was at Yolo County airport in California.  As I drove down the road, an MD500 was hovering over the field next to the road.

I pulled off a short distance away to see what was going on.  PG&E is a local power company and they appeared to be running a training program for they power line teams.  They were hooking up transmission components and moving them a short distance to another team that then unhooked them.  This process continued as they moved items from place to place giving the ground teams practice with the various items.

There was a strong breeze and a bit of gustiness so the pilot was working quite hard but, since everything was at ground level, I suspect it was a lot easier than if this was at the top of a pylon.  He wasn’t the one getting the training, though, by the look of it.  I watched for a while and from a couple of different angles and then left them to it.  I hope the class was successful.


Recently, I bought myself a GoPro camera.  They seem to be ubiquitous these days showing up on TV shows on a regular basis to provide the footage from unusual angles or mounted on fast moving items.  They make good cockpit cameras as well and are really very affordable.

As part of the Kauai trip, we spent a few hours riding zip lines at Princeville Ranch Adventures.  I took the GoPro along with us in case a good opportunity came up to use it.  I was not alone as another person in our group had one.  Originally, I had intended to get a head strap for the camera for use on the lines.  Unfortunately, I didn’t order one in time before we left and couldn’t get one locally.  GoPro stuff seems to sell out very quickly so I guess I am not alone in liking the gear.

As it was, I think this proved to be a lucky break.  Since I didn’t have a mount, my only option was to handhold the camera.  Since it has a very wide field of view, this can be done without needing too much accuracy in pointing.  I could also then point the camera in any direction I wanted.  Having a fixed wide view is not always ideal but it seemed to work pretty well.

From the footage I shot that day, I have put together a short video of the ziplining adventure.  I don’t think it is going to win any awards and those people I know who are real editors will, no doubt, cringe at the quality of my cutting but it is a vacation memento at the end of the day so I am not going to get too bothered about it.  Besides, as Vincent Laforet said in a recent interview, when you need editing done properly, get a proper editor to do it.  You can’t do everything!

Here is the video.  Hope it gives you a bit of a feel for a great day out.