Helicopter Chain Saw

Among the most dangerous jobs in the United States are timberjack and aircraft pilot. Combining the two wouldn’t sound like a recipe for success, but in fact it makes the job of trimming trees near pipelines and power lines much safer. That’s what this helicopter-suspended chainsaw does. And it definitely doesn’t look safe, either, but here we are.

The saw is equipped with ten two-foot diameter saws and is powered by a 28 horsepower engine which is separate from the helicopter itself. The pilot suspends the saw under the helicopter and travels along the trees in order to make quick work of tree branches that might be growing into rights-of-way. It’s a much safer (and faster) alternative that sending out bucket trucks or climbers to take care of the trees one-by-one.

Tree trimming is an important part of the maintenance of power lines especially which might get overlooked by the more “glamarous” engineering aspects of the power grid. In fact, poor maintentance of vegitation led to one of the largest blackouts in recent history and is a contributing factor in a large number of smaller power outages. We can’t argue with the sentiment around the saw, either.

54 thoughts on “Helicopter Chain Saw

        1. The saw would only need extremely small wires (relatively speaking. 30 gauge or smaller) going back up to the chopper to control the saw. The strength of the boom can be from plastics or fiberglass, which wouldn’t conduct electricity. The motor to run the saw is at the end of the boom along with the saw blades. And they have remote releases if needed.

          1. So it’s being done without even any warning (to humans, let alone animals) on private land. It’s undoubtedly effective at cutting things, seems like more care should be taken.

          2. If there’s a helicopter flying near me I don’t think “I’m not safe on the ground”. Even if I did think that it wouldn’t be obvious what it was about to do. Even if it were obvious what it was about to do it wouldn’t be obvious which way it was going to go.
            There are very many issues just with that line of thinking. There are also issues with assuming everyone and everything has hearing good enough to notice an approaching helicopter, and when it comes to animals an appropriate response to a very weird threat.

  1. Most “dangerous job” aircraft pilot ?? Really ? where are the authenticated / peer reviewed stats to back that up ? Article linked mentions “1000 hrs” (to fly the rig on a helo). 1000 hrs is nothing for a commercial pilot. It’s the bare minimum for entry into the fly-for-a-living world of turbine powered aircraft.

    I fly both rotary wing (Bell 429), and fixed wing (corporate jet – Citation X), my hours are a *lot* more than 1000. Heck, the training school (Flight Safety) their pre-requisite is 1000 hrs in your log book before they even accept you as a student for a type rating.

    I feel safer in the air, with the strict draconian regulations for ATC, and commerical pilots in general – vs – the morons we encounter daily on the highways and roadways. What we should do is mandate drivers licensees be held to the same strict standards we have in aviation (constant testing, written/oral exams, medicals, background checks). It’ll probably put an end to the idiocy of ‘soccer moms’ doing their make up while driving a 2 ton piece of lethal steel at 70 mph, or drugged up truckers.

    1. “Most “dangerous job” aircraft pilot ?? Really ? where are the authenticated / peer reviewed stats to back that up ?”

      Probably from the same people that have to be reported to when people die (especially flying), from the government, to insurance.

      1. No. Faulty interpretation of numbers from an organization having ‘semi-professional’ journalists.

        Per DoT numbers, commercial aviation fatality rates do not make the top 100 list. What these morons have done is lump in all aviation incidents (to include general aviation private pilots and “sport” pilots and “recreational” pilots and student pilots. Sports and recreational pilots do not even have to have a FAA medical certificate. General aviation accident rates are about an order of magnitude greater than commercial and ATR pilots.

    2. likely also includes GA, which are significantly less safe… inexperienced pilots (I’ve nearly had a mid-air collision due to morons taking off inactive runways and flying their own made up patterns…), vmc into imc, single engine just isnt as reliable etc.

  2. I’m pretty sure the word chainsaw undeniably refers to a saw that cuts with a toothed chain.
    I don’t see any chains here…

    This is an arrangement of hydraulically driven circular saws. The company that invented it names it “Air Saw” while the patent says “Airborne Tree Trimmer”.

    Chainsaws are mentioned as a possible substitute for circular saws in special cases.

    1. It was an alright film, they can’t all be hits but I think it was one of the better opening songs.

      Though I admit that Dalton is my favorite Bond so many people think my taste in movies is a little suspect anyway.

      1. Wow. I thought Roger Moore would have been a weird choice for favorite bond, but Dalton takes the cake. The only way you could have gone weirder would have been George Lazenby. You do you though. Somebody has to watch The Living Daylights…I guess. :)

        1. Dalton is my favorite Bond but he’s not in what I would consider the best Bond films, I guess it’s all about the mental image I had of Bond reading the novels and Dalton is the closest to that image.

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