Italian electrical transmission grid operator Terna has taken delivery of two Airbus Helicopters AS350 B3e choppers on 22 October 2014 to perform surveillance and maintenance support for power lines that deliver electricity throughout the country.
These two Ecureuils (Squirrels) provide Terna with its own resources to conduct airborne operations, enabling the company to provide such services rather than relying on subcontractors. Terna manages a national transmission grid encompassing more than 39,457 miles (63,500 km) of high voltage lines.
The deployment of helicopters for surveillance and maintenance of electrical transmission grids provides multiple advantages, including the ability to visually inspect approximately 185 miles (300 km) of power lines daily, a quick-reaction capability in detecting and evaluating failure or problems, and the ability to reach difficult or inaccessible areas.
The enhanced AS350 B3e version includes the more powerful Turbomeca Arriel 2D engine, a new FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control), avionics that feature Airbus Helicopters’ VEMD (Vehicle Engine Multifunction Display) and engine data recorder, along with an improved interior design and tail rotor modifications for additional ease of piloting.
Source: Airbus Helicopters