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4 Helicopters used to replace TV mast at Bilsdale after devastating fire

TV and radio services were restored with an 80m temporary guyed mast lifted into place by helicopter.

  • Catastrophic Fire — A 300m TV mast at Bilsdale caught fire on 10th August 2021 knocking-out terrestrial TV and radio for almost 1 million people in the North-East of England.
  • 80m Guyed Mast — A temporary 80m guyed mast was brought into service on 13th October to restore TV/radio services to the majority of those who had lost it.
  • 80m Free-Standing Tower — This further temporary structure should be brought into service early in 2022 and will provide a stronger more reliable signal to the region.
  • Heli Lift Benefits — Helirig has provided 4 helicopters for various operations which has accelerated restoration of TV, limiting damage to the SSSI protected area.

The catastrophic fire at Bilsdale TV transmitter, left the 300m guyed mast irreparably damaged and on 6th October 2021 it was brought to the ground by controlled explosion.

Some TV and radio services were restored when an 80m temporary guyed mast came into service in October. Services will be further improved when a second temporary transmitter comes online early in 2022.

There were various heli lifts provided by Helirig between Sep and Dec 2021:

  • 200 tonnes of pre-cast concrete blocks flown to site – Bell 205
  • Construction of 80m guyed mast – Airbus AS350 B3
  • Pattern testing for the 80m mast transmitters prior to going live – Bell 212
  • Lifting tower sections & TV transmitter onto 80m free-standing tower – Super Puma AS332 C1

Due to the site’s remote location and to minimise damage to the surrounding SSSI peat bog, helicopters were considered the most appropriate solution to various problems. The use of helicopters reduced the number of vehicle movements across the peat. Also, it was no longer necessary to widen access tracks to allow heavy cranes to reach the site.