2011-09-21 / Front Page

Helicopter airlifts Skyline Lift towers

By BJ Bangs Irregular Staff Writer


Tower assembly crews were a mix of Doppelmayr, the company that designed and is installing the lift, and Sugarloaf personnel. There were eight to 10 bolts per tower, and the crew had to secure all the bolts before the helicopter released the tower. Then the bolts were tightened securely. 
(Photo courtesy Sugarloaf Mountain) Tower assembly crews were a mix of Doppelmayr, the company that designed and is installing the lift, and Sugarloaf personnel. There were eight to 10 bolts per tower, and the crew had to secure all the bolts before the helicopter released the tower. Then the bolts were tightened securely. (Photo courtesy Sugarloaf Mountain) CARRABASSETT VALLEY — In just under three hours last Wednesday, a helicopter and ground crew installed 18 of the 19 towers for the new $3 million Skyline Lift at Sugarloaf. The 19th one was installed by an excavator, being small enough so that the helicopter wasn’t necessary.

The goal is to have the lift complete and operational by opening day, Nov. 18, according to Ethan Austin, communication manager.

The towers were airlifted from parking lot E, where a crew attached them to the helicopter, which then flew them to their designated location on the mountain. There, another crew guided them into place and bolted them down, he said. The towers had been trucked to the parking lot over the course of the previous couple of weeks.


A construction helicopter out of Howell, Mich.carries one of the many towers to its new location as part of Sugarloaf’s new Skyline lift. (BJ Bangs photo) A construction helicopter out of Howell, Mich.carries one of the many towers to its new location as part of Sugarloaf’s new Skyline lift. (BJ Bangs photo) There were four people stationed in the parking lot, hooking the towers to the helicopter, and roughly 10 people up on the mountain, catching the towers and securing them to the foundations, Austin explained. The crews were a mix of Doppelmayr, the company that designed and is installing the lift, and Sugarloaf personnel. There are roughly eight to 10 bolts per tower, he added. Before the helicopter released the tower, the crew secured all the bolts and tight- ened them securely after the release.

Most of the towers and crossarms were flown up the mountain in a preassembled, single piece. But on a few of them, Austin said the crew had to fly the tower and crossarm up the mountain separately. Some of the larger towers would have been too heavy for the helicopter to carry if they were preassembled, and some needed to be installed in separate pieces due to their location. The angle of the terrain would have made it difficult to install some of the towers as a single piece.


(Photos courtesy of Sugarloaf Mountain) (Photos courtesy of Sugarloaf Mountain) Doppelmayr selected the helicopter company, Construction Helicopters out of Howell, Mich. While Austin said he didn’t know the specific criteria they had for selecting a company, he said they worked with this company in the past, and that the pilot was very experienced in lift installations.

Wind was a minor factor Wednesday, but not enough to affect the operation, he said. The slight delay in the morning was due to fog in Bangor, which prevented the helicopter from taking off on time from the Bangor airport. It arrived around 8:45 a.m. and returned to Bangor that afternoon.

There are a number of steps still remaining in the installation process, Austin said. Some of the major ones include running and splicing the haul rope, installing the conveyor loading system, installing all of the chairs, and completing all of the testing that is required before the lift can be opened.

Return to top