TRAVERSE CITY — The helicopters are back.
Northern Michigan residents may notice starting today some low-flying green and white choppers in the sky. The helicopters are not operated by foreign invaders or some secret police force, but are instead flown by International Transmission Company (ITC).
The company is using the helicopters for aerial inspections of high-voltage electric transmission towers and lines throughout the Grand Traverse region.
The twice-a-year patrols are required for maintenance and vegetation management and include inspections of steel towers, wood poles, conductors, insulators and other equipment. Crews check for damaged or worn equipment and vegetation hazards.
The inspection flights are often at low altitudes to allow accurate inspection of equipment for lightning damage, wear or other potential problems. They will continue through June 20.
“This is normal procedure, so there is no cause for alarm if a low-flying helicopter is sighted near transmission lines,” the company said in a press release.