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When Only Helicopters Will Do: Advantages of Helicopter Rigging

Traditional rigging methods have limitations. Enter helicopter rigging, the solution for projects requiring access to difficult locations or demanding rapid completion.

Helicopter Rigging Advantages:

  • Reaching the Unreachable: Helicopters excel in inaccessible areas like high elevations, remote sites, and over water.
  • Speed and Efficiency: Helicopter lifts can significantly reduce project timelines compared to ground-based methods, potentially leading to cost savings.

Real-World Example:

  • AirCrane Incorporated successfully airlifted 22 massive HVAC units onto a warehouse roof in Virginia in just 30 minutes, demonstrating the efficiency of helicopters.

Beyond Objects:

  • Helicopter rigging extends to transporting materials like timber, concrete for remote construction, and water for firefighting.

Safety Considerations:

While conventional rigging techniques apply to helicopter rigging, additional factors require attention:

  1. Helicopter Instability: Helicopters are inherently less stable than cranes, demanding extra caution during lifts.
  2. Communication is Key: Clear visual communication between the signal person and pilot is crucial for safety.
  3. Downwash and Noise: Helicopter rotors generate strong downdraft and noise that can affect riggers during extended operations.
  4. Weather and Obstructions: Poor weather or obstacles like power lines can hinder helicopter use.

Choosing a Helicopter Rigging Contractor:

  1. Owner-Operator Advantage: Select an owner-operator company over a broker for potentially better service and expertise.
  2. Full-Service Capabilities: Look for a contractor offering a variety of aircraft and lift capacities to suit your project needs.
  3. Transparent Pricing: The contractor should be able to provide a firm bid price upfront.
  4. Safety and Insurance: Ensure the company is fully insured and prioritizes safety protocols.

Additional Resources:

  • ASME B30.12 Standard: This American Society of Mechanical Engineers standard provides guidelines for safe handling of loads suspended from helicopters.
  • By understanding the unique capabilities and considerations of helicopter rigging, you can determine if it's the optimal solution for your challenging lifting project.