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Locals may see helicopters overhead as SoCal Edison performs aerial inspections

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Southern California Edison will begin performing aerial inspections in high fire risk areas such as La Cañada Flintridge and Altadena throughout the latter part of September, officials report.
(Courtesy of Southern California Edison)

Residents may soon see low-flying helicopters overhead, as Southern California Edison conducts aerial inspections of lines and facilities in and around La Cañada Flintridge and Altadena in the latter half of the month.

Edison spokesman David Song explained the aerial inspections allow utility officials to spot potential problems from angles not visible from the ground.

“We typically do ground-based inspections and end it at that, but one of the things we’re doing that’s new is inspecting things by air, because there are things we could be missing — and we don’t want to miss anything,” he said.

Contracted helicopters are expected to begin flying low over foothills communities beginning the week of Sept. 16 and continuing throughout the month.

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They are equipped with high-resolution, multispectral cameras that will take snapshots of transformers, pole tops, cross arms and conductors that will be examined by experts on the ground.

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Southern California will be performing aerial inspections in Foothills communities in the latter part of September, using high-tech, multispectral cameras to catch potential infrastructure problems.
(Courtesy of Southern California Edison)

“We get a cache of images and then we have people on the ground inspecting them,” Song said.

The helicopters will fly relatively low in the airspace, at about 400 feet elevation, following predetermined paths where Edison’s infrastructure is installed. From a distance, it may look like the aircraft are hovering, Song said, but they will be moving and may occasionally come to ground for safety reasons.

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A bulk of the flying will be done in the late morning or early afternoon, when shadows that could obscure the images will be at a minimum.

Ongoing aerial inspections are part of the utility’s Wildfire Mitigation Plan, a state-mandated document outlining specific precautions and programs for reducing utility fire danger in high-risk areas such as La Cañada Flintridge and Altadena.

To receive timely updates on infrastructure work, residents are encouraged to update their contact information online at SCE.com/PSPS. Anyone with questions is asked to call (800) 655-4555.

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