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Helicopter crews will patrol ATC transmission lines

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – Helicopter crews began the annual patrolling of American Transmission Co. electric transmission lines Monday to look for damage, right-of-way encroachments and vegetation issues.

ATC contracted the services of Chemair Helicopters of Jefferson, Wis. Crews are patrolling the transmission system in Bell 206B Jet Ranger helicopters. Weather permitting, crews will follow the general timeline below to inspect lines within the ATC service territory:

  • Mid-September – Upper Peninsula of Michigan and northern Wisconsin
  • Late September, early October — northern and central Wisconsin
  • November and December — southern Wisconsin

ATC conducts helicopter patrols two or three times a year to detect potential problems that can be corrected to avoid unplanned power outages. Many of ATC’s 9,400 miles of transmission lines are located in relatively remote areas of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and it is difficult and time consuming for crews to reach these areas by vehicle or on foot. Aerial inspections allow crews to reach secluded or difficult-to-reach lines and identify potential problems such as damaged lines or insulators, or tree limbs that could fall, damage equipment and cause power outages.

Crews will inspect the lines by flying approximately 10 feet above the wires, and they will avoid flying over livestock where possible. Schedule may vary due to weather and the need to work around the gun deer hunting season.

Note to editors: A map of the ATC service territory is available at

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Formed in 2001 as the nation’s first multistate transmission-only utility, American Transmission Co. is a Wisconsin-based company that owns and operates more than 10,000 miles of electric transmission lines and approximately 580 substations in portions of Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois. Our transmission network enables the movement of electricity produced from all forms of generation resources to areas where it is needed. Visit our website at

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