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A flying two-tonne Stobie pole transported by a Black Hawk helicopter

Black Hawk Stobie Hero

In a South Australian first, an ex-US military Black Hawk helicopter was recently used to transport and install an almost two-tonne Stobie pole near Tumby Bay in the State's west.

The Stobie pole was enormous. It weighed 1.8 tonnes and was 20 metres tall. It was brought in to replace a pole that had failed earlier this year in extreme weather. The pole’s size and location, on a steep hill and in very wet conditions, meant that it was impossible for a permanent replacement pole to be erected immediately. Instead, a temporary aluminium pole had to be used to restore power to Tumby Bay and the surrounding areas quickly. 

Our Port Lincoln depot then investigated the safest and most cost-effective way to transport and lift the large Stobie pole into place. The most likely option would have been to undertake significant and costly civil works to cut a track (and work platform area) into the side of the hill. The job would have also required a specialist crane from Adelaide.  

Instead, our Operations Supervisor for Port Lincoln and Cleve found an alternative option. He found that a private company had recently purchased Black Hawk helicopters and that these had the capacity to lift the Stobie pole into place and get the job done. After significant safety and risk planning, the operation proceeded on a day with fine weather. 

The whole operation went smooth. The Stobie pole was installed and the power restored with minimal disruption. The trial was so successful that it is likely that the same technique will be used again in future.  

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