Within the next week, weather-permitting, Chesapeake Bay helicopters will be mobilizing to the JCP&L region and will begin performing routine patrols on all JCP&L 500kV, 230kV, and 115kV lines. These patrols are anticipated to take approximately two weeks to complete. The work is strongly weather dependent and therefore completion could be impeded by any post-storm or outage-related patrols that may occur.
A routine visual patrol is a general inspection of the structures, conductors, and all associated hardware on the transmission line(s), as the onboard inspector looks for any outstanding issues or immediate threats to the reliability of the transmission line(s). The helicopter may also be seen hovering and/or circling to get a closer look at any problems that may be found during these patrols.
The contractor has been authorized to patrol the transmission circuits in their entirety (i.e. "breaker-to-breaker"), so patrols on certain lines may therefore extend into the neighboring regions. The flight crew provides information on their daily location to both Transmission Lines Maintenance and FE East/NJ Transmission Operations, as well as any local airports when in their airspace.
The helicopter to be used for these patrols is the Hughes MD500 with the tail registration number N748CB (see photo below).
Photo courtesy of JCP&L