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updated: 4/15/2014 7:11 AM

Utility to start aerial power line inspections

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Associated Press

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. -- Northwestern Wisconsin residents might soon notice a helicopter cruising over their neighborhoods.

Xcel Energy plans to start a six-day aerial inspection its transmission lines on April 21. Helicopter crews will look for defects, loose fittings and other potential problems that could cause outages.

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The patrols will take place during the day. The helicopter will fly within 50 feet of the lines at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. The helicopter will hover if crews need to take a closer look at a potential problem.

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