Erickson Air Crane

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: FLIGHT OF THE SUNBIRD

February 7, 2012 (Lakeside) -- No, it's not an insect or an invader from outer space. It's an up-close view of the Erickson air crane "Sunbird" erecting the Sunrise Powerlink in Lakeside's Wildcat Canyon/El Monte Valley area.

Billy Ortiz snapped this head-on closeup image of the massive helicopter, which is capable of hoisting heavy loads including transmission towers.

SDG&E AIR CRANE CALLED IN TO HELP FIGHT EAGLE FIRE

 

July 2, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – The Erickson Air Crane, a heavy-left helicopter contracted by SDG&E for construction work on Sunrise Powerlink, was called early this afternoon to help battle the Eagle Fire. The massive chopper can carry up to 30,000 gallons of water or fire retardant chemicals.

 

The Eagle Fire has scorched 2,500 acres and remains just 5% contained as of 5 p.m. this evening. It is currently burning about 14 miles east of Santa Ysabel near Warner Springs on tribal lands as well as state park property.

CPUC REPORT HIGHLIGHTS SAFETY CONCERNS OVER DROPPED POWERLINK TOWERS

 

“That SDG&E would break rules and rush to put a faulty helicopter in the air again is just unconscionable...I continue to question the CPUC's monitoring of the project and again call on CPUC commissioners and the governor's office to closely evaluate these troubling events.” - Supervisor Dianne Jacob

 

SDG&E to replace helicopter and submit plan for operations in congested areas

 

FAA and CPUC approval required before resuming operations after utility found in violation of notification procedures

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

June 16, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – The FAA has suspended operations of the Erickson S-64F Sky Crane helicopter that twice dropped towers each weighing 16,400 pounds during hoist operations for SDG&E’s Sunrise Powerlink. A preliminary incident report released yesterday by California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) suggests a digital hook control system may be at fault. The agency also chastised SDG&E for violating requirements to keep regulators informed before returning the sky crane to service after the first accident.

FAA ISSUES STATEMENT ON SKY CRANE DROPPING POWERLINK TOWERS

 

June 16, 2011 (San Diego) The FAA has sent a written statement in response to an ECM inquiry for information on the two SDG&E Sunrise Powerlink towers dropped by a sky crane helicopter June 7 and June 10. The statement indicates a replacement helicopter has arrived in San Diego and will undergo tests Monday in Imperial County.

 

The FAA also indicates sky cranes are not certified to fly over occupied populated areas when carrying heavy loads.  The spokesman, Ian Gregor, later clarified in an e-mail that "a lift could occur over a populated area if that were absolutely necessary. However, nobody unessential to the operation could be on the ground below while the lift took place, and the lift could not take place directly over homes."

 

Below is the statement in full received this afternoon from Gregor, public information manager at the FAA Pacific Division: