READING, Pa., Jan. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Metropolitan Edison (Met-Ed), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), is using a helicopter to conduct comprehensive visual inspections of eight 500-kilovolt (kV) transmission lines within its service area. The inspections are expected to last about three weeks and will focus on components ranging from large steel crossarms to tiny hardware half the size of a pinky finger.
The helicopter conducting the inspections is a black Hughes MD500 with a registration number of N9159F in red paint on the tail. 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. 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. Findings are logged and issues will be prioritized and addressed as necessary to help ensure the continued reliable operation of the regional transmission system.
The inspections will cover about 220 miles along eight 500-kV transmission lines in Met-Ed’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.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company’s transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,500 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Visit FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
Editor’s Note: A photo of the helicopter performing the inspection is available for download on Flickr.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.