Beginning on Thursday, March 4th, weather permitting, Chesapeake Bay Helicopters (CBH) will be mobilizing to the JCP&L region and begin performing routine patrols on all JCP& L 115kV bulk transmission lines. The helicopter to be used for these patrols will be a blue, Bell Jet Ranger with tail registration number N719CB. These patrols are estimated to take two days to complete, but any inclement weather or storm/outage-related patrols on other lines may prolong completion.
During the week of March 8th, weather permitting, CBH will be mobilizing a different helicopter to the JCP&L region and begin performing UV/IR patrols on all JCP&L 500kV and 230kV bulk transmission lines. The helicopter to be used for these patrols will be a black and silver Hughes MD500 with tail registration number N774CB. These patrols are estimated to take one to one-and-a- half weeks to complete, but any inclement weather or storm/outage-related patrols on other lines may prolong completion.
A routine patrol is flown at speeds of 25-35 mph and is a general, overall look at the transmission line where the onboard inspector is looking for any outstanding damage on the transmission line conductors, hardware, and structures. The helicopter may also be seen hovering to get a closer look at any conditions that may be found.
A UV/IR patrol is like a routine patrol in terms of patrol speed (25-35 mph) but utilizes an infrared and corona camera that is mounted on the bottom of the helicopter. The onboard thermographer uses these cameras to view the transmission line conductor and hardware through the infrared and ultraviolet spectrums to identify any sources of corona activity or overheated components.
It should be noted that 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 Transmission Operations, and the pilot will be in communication with any local airports when in their airspace.