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VIDEO: The Canadian helicopter that is carrying nine tonne grid pylons in Moray

Moray residents are used to seeing aircraft of all shapes and sizes in the air above, usually during military training exercises at the region’s RAF base in Lossiemouth.

But local aviation enthusiasts are now clapping eyes on an altogether different sort of flying machine, as work to erect 140 pylons between Dufftown and Drummuir takes place.

An orange Sikorsky S-64 Erickson “air crane” has been transported to the north-east from Canada for the project, along with a pair of Canadian pilots to operate the craft.

The twin-engine heavy-lift helicopter is the civil version of the United States Army’s CH-54 Tarhe, and is capable of lifting objects weighing up to 10 tonnes.

The 70ft-long copter, named Goliath, has a rotor diameter of 72ft and can reach a maximum speed of 126mph.

It was shipped over on a short-term lease and is expected to remain in the area throughout the month.

One enthusiast, who recently observed the machine in action, said: “It is very impressive. It lowers a cabling system which is hooked to the pylon and then it is up and away in minutes.

“The pylons weigh between six and nine tonnes, so it’s really something to behold.”

Aviation fans have gathered by a field at Drummuir where the pylons are being stored, but are kept at least 300ft away from the landing area for safety reasons.

Sections of nearby roads have also been closed while the copter passes overhead.

The Goliath air-crane is capable of refilling 10,000 litres of water in 45 seconds and has previously been used to help battle forest fires.

However, the power line between Dufftown and Drummuir has proved a source of controversy.

Scottish and Southern Energy Networks (SSEN) was permitted to hook the Dorenell windfarm, near Dufftown, to the national grid with the 14-mile stretch of pylons in June.

But locals had called for the cables to be put underground to preserve the natural beauty.

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