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How Does Helicopter Lifting Work?

February 25, 2016
helicopter ride nyTraditionally, large, heavy, bulky objects were moved by truck, crane, or manpower or simply torn down and rebuilt on site. Today, there is another option: helicopter lifting. Sometimes manpower is futile, cranes are not available or safe, and building on site is simple impractical. For jobs like these, contractors use helicopters to get the work done.
History of Air Lifting – Air lifting by helicopter, also commonly known as aerial crane work, is a new concept. The first recorded helicopters to be used as air cranes were employed in the 1950s; shortly after that, in the late 1960s, construction workers caught on and began hiring helicopter pilots to air lift heavy objects. The ease and accuracy that can be achieved by moving something via air crane was mind blowing, and many began to take advantage of the service. Chances are, most people have see an air crane in action, whether it be at a construction site or at a military base. Surprisingly enough, neither industries utilize air lifting quite as much as the logging industry. Today, logging companies rely on air cranes to lug large trees out of rugged terrain.
How it Works – So, how exactly does helicopter lifting work? The answer is quite simple. First, the helicopter pilot assesses how he will lift an object. For example, a slab of concrete might need to be lifted with steel chains while other objects, say a monument, may need to be handled with care and lifted by cloth straps. Once the pilot knows with what he is going to lift the object with, the helicopter can then be rigged with the proper system. Some loads will require a single cable, while others will require three or four; it all depends on the dimensions and weight of the object. After the helicopter is properly rigged, the pilot will hover over the object that needs to be moved, while ground men hook the object up to the chains, chord, or sling. Once the object is hooked up and ready to go, the ground men will either signal the pilot or radio him that it’s ready. Once everyone has moved away from the object, the helicopter will then slowly lift it into the air. If ample space is available, then the helicopter may be hooked up to the object while it is still safely on the ground. Once the helicopter has lifted the object, it will travel to the new destination where another ground crew will direct him in placing the object in the desired location.
Not all lifting jobs are the same; therefore, not all lifting will be the same, either. Some jobs can easily be done without much guidance or careful planning, while others could take days, even months, to prepare for.
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