Power providers say powerlines pose risk for light aircraft

Instagram user @catblack10 snapped these powerlines at sunset out at Sippy Downs.
Instagram user @catblack10 snapped these powerlines at sunset out at Sippy Downs. Contributed

MORE than 10 light aircraft have collided with powerlines in incidents across regional Queensland in the past year, according to Ergon Enrgy.

A helicopter accident involving powerlines near Blackall recently is the latest in a series of incidents bringing the total to 11 in the past 12 months.

Ergon Energy executive general manager customer service Paul Jordon said the soaring statistic represented almost one incident per month which was "too high".

"Most occurred in southern Queensland as farmers turned to aerial applicators for their crops because of ongoing wet weather," he said.

"Some of these incidents could have been avoided if property owners had warning markers installed on powerlines that cross their properties - especially where light aircraft are used often."

Mr Jordon said it was the responsibility of landowners to have markers installed to potentially mitigate hazards and risks associated with machinery and aircraft working near powerlines.

Ergon Energy has a range of overhead warning markers that can be installed to help identify overhead powerlines - particularly in areas of frequent light aircraft use.

"We urge landowners to have them installed to reduce the risk of accidents," Mr Jordon said.

"The cost for markers and their installation is not expensive and our field staff can install them simply and easily from the ground. Property owners should call 13 74 66 and ask for safety advice.

"Those property owners with private powerlines should contact an electrical contractor. Under no circumstances should property owners attempt to install markers on powerlines."

Mr Jordon said pilots involved in low level flying operations, including aerial application, mustering, hot air ballooning and powered parachutes should establish strategies to maintain adequate situational awareness.

"People often take powerlines and their locations for granted and that's why Ergon will continue to work with and educate the aviation industry about the potential dangers of working around electrical infrastructure," Mr Jordon said.

"However pilots or machinery operators should still take personal responsibility for their own safety."

Topics:  aviation editors picks ergon energy light aircraft

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