WILLOWICK, Ohio (WJW) — Residents of Willowick might be wondering why they are seeing a helicopter in the skies above their homes on Friday.
The city reached out with an explanation in a Facebook post that said:
“Please be advised that on approximately 9/23/2022, weather permitting, Chesapeake Bay Helicopters will be mobilizing to the Illuminating Company region to begin routine transmission line patrols for the fall season on all Illuminating Company transmission lines,” the post said.
This is expected to take three weeks to complete but bad weather could stretch that out.
The blue, Bell Jet Ranger that you’ll see flying above has a tail registration number N719CB.
FirstEnergy spokeswoman Lauren Siburkis said in a statement to FOX 8 that these aerial inspections are currently being done along more than 500 miles of transmission lines throughout the entire FirstEnergy service area in Northeast Ohio in preparation for the winter storm season and to prevent future power outages.
“The transmission system is the first line of defense in preventing power outages because it supplies the electricity that flows into substations and along power lines to every single one of our customers,” she said. “Think of the power system like a sprinkler. The garden hose that supplies water is a transmission line and the sprinkler is the substation. Each stream of water coming out of the sprinkler hits different parts of the lawn, just like individual power lines feed electricity to various neighborhoods.”
The helicopter hovers at around 5 mph while the inspector on board gets a bird’s-eye view of each electrical structure looking for issues including broken crossarms or damaged wire caused by storms or age.