What the…?

“Why?” asked LoCO readers who noticed the dark whirlybird circling in Arcata this morning with something — something! — dangling beneath it. Why indeed!

We sent a panicked email to Emily Jacobs, program director with the Humboldt County Aviation Division, in the hopes we might better know whether we’d need to move out of the county soon. Thankfully, she assured us that the sky contraption was just PG&E fliers working on the power lines. 


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UPDATE, 3:59 p.m.: Oh! PG&E just sent us this:

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will be conducting low-level helicopter patrols this week to inspect electric distribution lines for maintenance in rural and remote areas in parts of Humboldt County

A helicopter will fly at approximately 500 feet, depending on the area and if livestock are present. PG&E patrols remote power lines, which are often located in rural areas, by helicopter as part of its continuing effort to ensure safety and reliability of its electric system. If issues are identified, it’s possible that they may need to inspect at a lower altitude. 

PG&E will patrol by air from about 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day this week, weather permitting. The general areas to be patrolled include Eureka, Arcata and surrounding areas.

PG&E patrols and inspects all of its lines annually – nearly 134,000 miles of them – to ensure safety and reliability, and to identify equipment in need of repair. This allows PG&E to proactively schedule repairs that might otherwise result in power outages. In rough country, remote areas or areas where there are fewer trees, the most efficient and sometimes only way to accomplish this is by helicopter.