“Kids, today is a great day!!”
It took me a while to organise this day, but when something is worth, you don’t stop until you get it.
“Hands on” could summarise my philosophy (or at least part of it 😊). In other words, if you want to know something deeply, you need to touch it, to experience it. To feel it.
I have been selling Windows and related products for many years and the best way to do it was to install and test them, continuously, from beta…let’s say alpha… version to the final one; I needed to fiddle with them, with all their settings.
Now I am in the Wind Turbine business.
Maybe I cannot install and test them directly.
But for sure I have to touch and experience them. I have to feel them.
In the last 20 months I’ve visited many factories around the world and I have seen the high level of engineering that is required to produce them. I could see how a blade is created; I could learn how a generator is built up; how a big, huge steel tower is made.
The time had arrived to see the final product: a wind turbine in a Wind Park.
Not just see it. Climb it.
“Daddy, what happens if it falls down”
(ops….) “Well, dear, I would probably die….but it is very unlikely it will happen: we are the leader in the market and our turbines are excellent”
While I was telling these words I couldn’t stop my mind visualizing the image of Windows Blue Screen….but I didn’t mention it to the kids….
So, 10:00 sharp the team of 5 colleagues was ready. And excited. And somehow a little bit scared:
“Which model of turbine are we going to visit?”
“The tall one”
First stop safety equipment: helmet, glasses, vest and of course shoes.
Then, we drove to the Wind Park.
We actually ended up in a farm. The turbines were there, you cannot miss them! But we probably expected a gate or something similar. Around us there were only tractors and excavators.
After a phone call we understood the entrance was on the other side. The view was not that different, indeed:
This is simply the power of green energy: wind turbine and cows can live together one close to the other one. Regarding “feeling it”, the cow’s smell was not exactly what I meant….
For sure, this bucolic environment contributed to make the visit even better.
Standing right under the turbine is amazing: you can see and feel its power. Almost 100m high. It’s huge.
We dressed up with the safety equipment plus the harness. Being watching Falling Skies and wearing a “harness” is a kind of strange… 😊
A little demo on the use of the harness and all the hooks it included and then we were ready to go up.
You can climb.
Or you can take the lift.
If you are thinking about the lift you took during your last stay at the Grand Hotel, it is not that one.
It is more like a small cage where two people can barely stay. If they fit, they cannot move anyway.
The slow rise to the top took some minutes. You cannot miss the fact that you are arrived: it is a sudden and noisy stop, with a lot of shake.
A couple of ladders and finally I was inside the nacelle.
I visited one in the past, but it was on the ground.
Up there it was different: better not to think that I was walking almost at 100m over the ground; the slow movement from one side to the other, due to the wind, was there just to remind it. And the wind was not that bad.
The Service Technician, our guide, told me all the important info about the components that were in front of us and the way he usually works there.
Then he opened the two windows located on the ceiling.
“Give a look!”
I slowly raised my head outside the squared hole in the ceiling and the view was breathless:
He calmly and comfortably went to the other window and sat outside, locking one of his hook to the safety ring on the roof.
In the meanwhile, the whole team was up.
The next step was to walk on the top of the nacelle.
Let’s do it.
Maybe I just wait a little bit.
I need to concentrate more….
Of course, I knew since the very beginning that standing up on the top of the turbine would have been the challenge of the day.
Just to recap.
First step: head out.
Second step: seat outside with the legs inside the window.
Now the third step was waiting for me: leave the safe hole and stay completely outside, on my knees.
Outside there, you need ALWAYS to be locked to one ring at least, so if you want to move you need to lock the second hook to another ring in the direction you are moving to, then unlock the first one and so forth.
The forth step had then two options: do this unlock and lock by crawling….or be brave, stand up, walk towards the next ring, bend, lock the second hook, stand up, walk back to the first one, bend, unlock it and continue. Walking.
I think crawling is good just for pub crawling, so I decided to stand up.
The point of view was different from there.
Amazing. Speechless. Inspiring.
Then our guide suggested me to walk to the border and look down.
Amazing. Speechless. Inspiring.
….but…. “Is that small rectangular stuff our car??!!??!?! OMG!!!!!!!”
“And what about those ants?!?!?!!? Oh…they are our friends, the cows!!!!”
But overall, I was not scared. On the contrary, I didn’t want to come down: it was so peaceful that I could have being seating there for hours.
But time flies….. so it was to time to go back to the ground.
At that moment, I was sure all the interesting part was ended. It is actually in those circumstances that something unexpected happens and your fun level skyrockets! And so does adrenaline!
“Would you like to take the lift or climb down through the stairs?”
How could you say no to such an invitation?
I locked my special hook to the ladder, opened the trap-door, looked down and….I could see the ladder all the way down to the basement: 94m!!!!!
I double checked the hook….
The descent was as worth as the stand up on the top of the turbine, no doubt. It looked like the end down there was not getting closer. But after many minutes it did: I actually was so much focused on the ladder and the way I was climbing down that I lost completely the time/space dimension. After a while I looked up and I saw a very far away trap-door; I looked down and I saw a very far away ground: it was like being in a parallel universe.
This day just once more confirmed the “Hands on” principle.
Regardless it is about job, personal life or free time….
get your hands dirty