At American Transmission Co., our job is to operate our transmission system safely and reliably, and we take that responsibility seriously. An important part of that involves managing the vegetation around our transmission facilities to prevent outages. With more than 10,000 miles of transmission lines, that’s no small job.
One unique approach we take is to get help from above – help from a helicopter, that is. We use a light utility helicopter equipped with a heavy-duty aerial saw to trim the vegetation near some of our lines. Rotary saw blades are suspended on a 90- to 100-foot vertical boom that is attached to the helicopter.
The helicopter/aerial saw combination is particularly effective in areas where difficult terrain and wetlands make it challenging for ground crews to access the transmission line corridor. Aerial saw work is also highly efficient when compared to the work of ground-based crews.
“It takes just a few hours for an aerial saw to complete what typically takes ground crews several days to accomplish,” said Dan Horton, ATC senior vegetation management specialist. “However, the aerial work is weather-dependent so the duration of the work could fluctuate.”
Next week an air-saw equipped helicopter crew is trimming vegetation along lines in six Wisconsin counties—Brown, Calumet, Marathon, Outagamie, Portage and Wood counties.
In the interest of safety, if you see a helicopter/aerial saw in the area, please stay at least 300 feet away from the work area and refrain from stopping, viewing and photographing the work from a roadway.
Want to know more? Check out our YouTube channel for video footage of similar aerial saw vegetation management work.