A year has passed since chopper hit Doerun tower - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

A year has passed since chopper hit Doerun tower

June 7, 2007

Doerun -- It was a year ago today that demolition of WFXL's damaged tower brought down both WFXL and WALB's TV towers. Last June first, an M-H 47 Chinook helicopter with five soldiers crashed to the ground, killing four soldiers after striking the top of the one thousand foot WFXL tower.

Just after the first of the year work began on this site for the new tower. A month later the steel arrived. In April, crews began stacking this new Mega tower and today they reached another milestone as the first antenna, the standard air signal for WALB was hoisted to the top.

On today's anniversary another milestone was reached, WALB's antenna was placed atop the new megatower, which stands on the site where there once were two.

 Today after hoisting WALB's antenna in place they're moving the "Chicago boom" to the other side of the tower to attach the other arm and WFXL's antenna.

There's still much work to be done to the tower including several more pieces that need to be attached to this tower before it's complete and powered up.

"After the antenna's there's the dishes, the elevator that all has to go in there yet and we have to get all of our equipment off the tower, adjust all the guy wires," Derrek Flynn, tower Supervisor for the Radian Company.

Many factors play into how fast crews can work. Today, for example, conditions had to be precisely right to hoist the antenna. Winds must be dead on in front of the "Chicago" boom at the top of the tower, or it can be dangerous to lift the antennas into place.

 "You can have a front winds but if you have a side wind, that boom up there is 75 feet long so it cannot have a side wind. It's meant to pull straight up," said top hand Lorne Morais.

Some of the showers have affecting the crews negatively. They can't work a thousand feet on this tower if they see lightening. This tower also gives some, if it's windy these, antennas can sway 8 to 10 feet in either direction, not good conditions to be working under.

Thousands of viewers haven't been able to pick us up since last June 7th. Talk of the tower's return has quickly spread through Doerun and those who haven't been able to get the signal are happy to know it won't be long now.

"She's too far out for Moultrie to get Moultrie's cable, then too far on the Moultrie side to get Berlin, so she's really having to look on the Internet, she'll be very thrilled to get it back," said Dani Powell of the Apothecary.

Crews hope to have the other arm in place sometime in the next week so they can continue to hoist the antennas. They've got to have everything in place before they can remove their equipment from the tower and begin to test the signals. They say that could happen at best by month's end.

WALB expects to be on the air with the new tower in the next 30 days, barring any weather delays.

WALB continues to simulcast our newscasts on our website at walb.com. You can also turn to our web page throughout the day for breaking news stories or weather updates.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=TowerProgress/JE

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