In “The Third Pole” by Mark Synnott, mountaineers use drones to discover whether two British adventurers were the first to summit Mt. Everest in 1924. (It’s a true story.) Recreational drones have altitude and speed limits, so the cameramen-climbers had to hack the software to operate at the top of the world. We start this issue of Line Contractor slightly below 29,032 feet with an article about using drones to manage line infrastructure. I know line contractors work at height, but not THAT high. Fixed-wing and multirotor models have different abilities and uses. Find out more in “Eyes From the Skies."
What goes up must come down, so Jeff Griffin details efforts by the Common Ground Alliance to prevent damage to underground utility equipment in “Know What’s Below."
Marlena Chertock introduces us to Rae Johnson, who founded the nonprofit National Sisterhood United for Journeymen Linemen (NSUJL), which helps families of fallen and injured lineworkers. Meet Rae and a family NSUJL helped and see what they are doing now in ”Coming Together When Tragedy Strikes.”
In “Batteries on Wheels,” Jeff Gavin explains how connecting electric vehicles and charging stations to the grid could help decarbonize utility power. The push is on to make EVs ubiquitous, and delivering power back to the grid is certainly intriguing.
We have two new columns in this issue. Meet Mike Starner, NECA’s director of outside line safety in Behind the Scenes. The Basics discusses differences among transmission, distribution and substation work.
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You know the quote about climbing Mt. Everest “because it’s there”? I’m sure I’m not alone in believing Edmund Hillary—credited with reaching the summit first with Tenzing Norgay in 1953—said it. In fact, it was George Mallory, who might have gotten there almost 30 years before that. They found no trace of him during the 2019 expedition, but if I hear any more, I’ll let you know.