Every 2 minutes and 20 seconds a unit was safely flown from a large staging area onto the 1.2 million square foot roof and placed on a specifically designated structural curb. This carefully orchestrated ballet of men and machine was accomplished with a team of 27 COAC construction veterans, with additional support from Big-D Pacific Builders, and the air and ground crews from A&P Helicopters.
The paramount aspect of the helicopter lift was safety. Everything from the high visibility clothes, predawn safety meetings, to the pre-lift pilot briefing hammered home the mandatory safety protocols. With over 2,800 pounds of heavy equipment swinging on a cable overhead there is no room for error.
With three roof crews in place, ground crew at the ready and safety personnel surrounding all, the first lift took off at 7:32am. The 124 HVAC units where laid out on the newly poured asphalt in front of the building's loading area in a very specific order of pick up. This "pick plan" was the gospel for the day. All personnel and equipment movement was dictated by this, weeks-in-planning, pick plan to insure a safe, efficient and orderly process.
The lifting process actually began during the weeks leading up to Sunday's lift with the careful planning and staging of material and equipment on the ground and roof, safety coordination, contingency planning and finally, placement of equipment on the ground and pre-rigging 60 units. Project Manager Kent Keller, Foremen Justin Tucker and Anthony Vallejos and support crews invested hundreds of hours developing the plan and making sure there was nothing left to chance.
The 1967 Vietnam-era "Huey" helicopter, piloted by Erik Vandagriff of A&P Helicopters, did the heavy lifting from early Sunday morning until well into the afternoon. The entire "ballet" was directed and conducted by Field Superintendent Dave Armenta, with hand signals and more than a few choice words, making sure that men, helicopter and equipment were in the right place at the right time, 124 times.
By 2:30pm, as the Tracy winds were beginning to make flying more treacherous, the last unit of the day was safely lowered onto its curb. The planning and execution of this enormous undertaking was a resounding success. The day's accomplishment bodes well for the next lift on August 25th, where the team will lift the remaining 90+ units on to the roof of this "Amazonian" structure.
We value your opinions of the newsletter, if you have any questions or ideas about the newsletter please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org