Nothing odd about that, you may say.However, not only is the power line live - carrying 230,000 volts - but they are also fixing it from a helicopter which flies inches from the line.
The incredible action - as reported by Gizmodo - was filmed for America Revealed.The pilot and his colleague, Ryan Hill, are sent to fix a section of the line between Philadelphia and New York City. I saw this video, where a guy did power line inspection from a helicopter, which is isolated from ground. This got me confused, though, because I thought since he was isolated from ground, the power would not want to go anywhere. Edit: In keeping with Dave Tweed's comments below, this edit applies to AC high voltage lines, which the one in the video is.


The IMAX photography is breathtaking, but the verbiage less so- voltage does not "flow around" the technician, and I'd like to see a reference to Michael Faraday speculating on the welfare of a man in a metal cage.
When he held out a "magic wand", a small amount of arcing came off of the power line to the helicopter.
Because of the capacitance there will be a (reactive) current flowing between the lines (and anything connected to them) and earth.
For the system to be charged to 500kV or whatever, that capacitance must be charged to the same potential as the high voltage line. That current is one reason why DC lines are preferred for long distance transmission- the current causes losses in the resistance of the conductors.


When the linesman bonds to the line, the current jumps through the air first, then it is tied directly to equalize the voltages.
The metallic suit that the man wears simply makes sure that the potential at all points of his body is the same, which insures that no capacitive current flows through him. When the bond is broken, the helicopter may be left with a residual charge, as it would be with a DC line, as below.



Assessment of risk
Ncr emergency radio broadcast


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