I&M to use drone, helicopter for transmission line work

Indiana Michigan Power plans to use a drone beginning Monday to inspect transmission lines and poles in Allen, Grant and Delaware counties, a news release said. The inspections will continue for about four weeks.

Locally, the drone will be used in northeast Fort Wayne and eastern Allen County, the news release said. It likely will hover at transmission towers and poles for extended times to take numerous high-resolution photos so I&M officials can assess the structural condition of the poles and towers.

The drone flights will be conducted by ReliaPOLE Inspection Services, which will have a licensed drone pilot and a camera operator/inspector on the ground, the news release said. Federal Aviation Administration rules require the pilot to always keep the drone in sight, so the inspection team will move frequently on the ground from place to place along the transmission lines.

In a separate project, I&M will use a manned helicopter today and Saturday to attach ropes to transmission towers along a transmission line from Indiana 205 in LaOtto to Huntertown, the news release said. The ropes will be used in the future to hoist electric cables into place.