Perry An aerial display was played out Thursday near Perry in an unprecedented fiber-optic cable installation project.
Haverfield Corp. spent the afternoon using a helicopter to string cable for Topeka-based Western Resources.
The work was part of a project to lay $22 million in cable -- the most extensive single deployment of fiber optics by a utility in the United States.
"This is all new to us here," said Steve Johnson, KPL general manager in Lawrence. "We've never had anyone that I knew of work on the line with a helicopter."
Western Resources, KPL's parent company, is replacing an existing 720-mile ground wire with fiber-optic cable. To install the new line, Johnson said, a Haverfield Corp. air crew attaches it to the existing line and pulls the existing line out.
While one crew member pilots the aircraft, another sits on a platform outside the machine and works on the lines.
The outside crew member directs the aircraft by motioning to the pilot.
Johnson said crews plan to work in the Lawrence area for the rest of the week, then move to Wichita to complete another phase of the project.
"They'll jump around a little bit, then they'll be back up here later this summer," he said.
Western Resources plans to use the new cable for its internal operations. Currently, the company leases fiber-optic lines.