PGE helicopters

Beginning Monday, April 26, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will be conducting aerial patrols of gas transmission pipelines in the North Bay. Residents may notice a helicopter flying as low as 300 to 500 feet, or a fixed-wing aircraft following the transmission lines in Sonoma County. Additionally, PG&E will be patrolling lines in Vallejo, Marin and Napa counties.

“Starting Monday, a low-flying Lasen helicopter will inspect transmission lines in Vallejo (as well as) Marin, Napa, and Sonoma counties through the end of the month. They will fly to and from San Rafael’s Hayward Executive Airport to Sonoma County’s Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport. These flights are Monday through Sunday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.,” said PG&E in a press release.

A pilot and two observers will be in three small airplanes flying through North Bay counties at about 7,000 to 9,000 feet inspecting gas transmission lines from Monday to Friday. Using GPS and live video, a pilot and two observers navigate the pipelines and document excavation and construction activity, or other observations that obstruct rights-of-way.

 “These semi-annual surveys combine the use of LIDAR-based equipment and state-of-the-art leak detection technology to find gas indications. If gas is detected, PG&E personnel are sent to the field to follow-up. Each patrol consists of a pilot and an observer. The observer in the helicopter also uses a GPS-enabled tablet with mapping data to help identify safety concerns that would prohibit access to the pipeline,” according to the press release.

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