The inspections are expected to take about three weeks, and will focus on components ranging from large steel crossarms to tiny hardware no larger than your pinky.
READING, Pa. — Met-Ed announced that it will be using a helicopter to conduct visual inspections of eight 500-kilovolt transmission lines within its service area in Central Pennsylvania in the coming weeks.
The inspections are expected to take about three weeks, and will focus on components ranging from large steel crossarms to tiny hardware no larger than your pinky finger, the company said.
The helicopter conducting the inspections is a black Hughes MD500 with a registration number of N9159F in red paint on the tail, Met-Ed said.
The helicopter is owned by Haverfield Aviation of Gettysburg, and will operate only as weather conditions permit.
“Performed every four years, a comprehensive visual inspection is a slow, structure-by-structure look where the inspector aboard a helicopter gets a bird’s-eye, top-to-bottom view of each structure and the wire spans between them,” Met-Ed said in a press release. “The helicopter travels about 5 mph and then hovers at each structure as long as necessary for the inspector to take high-resolution photos of hardware that may need to be repaired or replaced.
“Inspectors are on the lookout for items such as broken crossarms, loose or missing metal fasteners, chipped insulators, bent lattice steel and damaged wire. Storms, exposure to weather and age can cause such conditions.”
Once the inspections are finished, the findings are logged and issues prioritized and fixed as necessary, the company said.
The inspections will cover about 220 miles along eight 500-kV transmission lines in MetEd’s service territory, including locations in the York, Lebanon, Reading and Easton areas.
The flight crew is in communication with any local airports when they are operating within their airspace.
The comprehensive visual inspections augment twice yearly routine helicopter patrols of transmission lines designed to look for more apparent visible conditions such as broken crossarms and damaged insulators.
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