Ohio Edison choppers scouting 138-kV transmission lines

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JASON HAWK
EDITOR

If you look up and see a low-flying helicopter over Wellington, have no fear.

A black Hughes MD500 with a red tail will spend the next six to eight weeks scouting Ohio Edison’s 138-kilovolt transmission lines, looking for problems.

“The inspector on board the bird can get a thorough look from the top to the bottom of every structure out there,” said First Energy spokesman James Cannon.

“They’re going to be moving slowly along each one of the lines, sometimes just hovering while they do the inspections,” he said. “They’re doing it basically from breaker to breaker along the entire transmission circuit.”

The inspections are routine and give pilots a chance to look at hardware and conductors along transmission lines.

Cannon said the scouting will happen along all the 138-kilovolt lines in Ohio Edison’s territory, not just Wellington.

Mayor Hans Schneider posted on social media that the contractor has been authorized to patrol the transmission circuits in their entirety, so patrols on certain lines may extend into the neighboring regions.

Cannon said the flight crew provides daily location information to Ohio Edison and the Federal Communications Commission, as well as local airports.