“Heroic” is often the word used to describe the work done by Wilson Construction’s impressive team of linemen and pilots that meticulously and carefully plan and execute power line restoration projects throughout the country.
That’s not just because the collective effort illuminates the home of millions of families who might find themselves in darkness due to lost power throughout the year. The projects are also carried out in often harsh conditions like high altitudes, extreme temperatures, and mountainous terrain.
But as a nationwide leader in the utility industry, with an aviation division based at the Aurora State Airport, the company strives to constantly modernize the tools and methods that keep its operations and projects safe and efficient to keep the power on in our households.
Last week, the company upgraded one of its four MD 500E helicopters to an MD 530F model aircraft. The transition was part of a conversion program through MD Helicopters, Inc— but more importantly it gives the Wilson rotorcraft fleet a boost in performance at higher altitudes and with warmer weather projects.
Having a split fleet between MD 500Es and MD 530Fs is a “shot of safety and performance in the arm” of their crews, who are repairing and building powerlines in a wide range of climates and terrains throughout the year.
Just earlier this year, the Wilson Construction crew was in the frigid northern Minnesota artic, working around-the-clock on the Great Northern Transmission Line. Now, they find themselves in the Southwest working in 3,000 foot,100+ degree altitudes.
“The engine in the MD 530F model doesn’t break a sweat to perform its duties,” Director of Flight Operations Ron Stewart said. “It gives us the ability to operate in the dessert.”
The helicopter conversion program isn’t the only space that Wilson Construction is leading the way as a leader in the construction utility industry in the U.S.
Wilson is one of few construction utility firms in the nation whose capabilities are fully integrated with their aerial flight operations. The integration with aviation assets gives them a leadership role that has enabled them to quite literally “write the book” on safe operations.
Over the years, Wilson Construction helped write Helicopter International Association’s UPAC guide that serves as the industry guide for operations within the utility construction industry.
Wilson’s Executive Vice President Jeff Johnson served as chairman of UPAC committee for several years. Closer to home, Wilson helped write state regulations and safety standards for Washington and Oregon.
Wilson Construction’s frontline crew that plans and carries out smooth operations nationwide should be considered nothing less than heroic — but the company is casting a vision for the industry that reverberates far beyond the projects they work on.
They’re setting a standard of safety and quality that ensures the lights are always on for American families. That’s leadership.
Dylan Frederick is Spokesman for Friends of Aurora Airport and directs public relations and communications for clients at Public Affairs Counsel.
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