Shropshire Star

Eyes to the sky as power company helicopter carries out flying inspections in Ironbridge Gorge

Puzzled Shropshire residents were watching the sky today as a distinctive yellow helicopter circled overhead.

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A WPD helicopter. Photo: Neil Phillips

The more eagle-eyed Ironbridge Gorge residents clocked that the helicopter was working on behalf of Western Power Distribution this afternoon, carrying out routine visual inspections on the 11 kilovolt network.

A WPD spokesperson said: "WPD has 92,000km of overhead network which we have to inspect every two years. Helicopters can do this faster than ground patrols – and have a better view – and our fleet of five are fitted with high definition, thermal and corona cameras, which can capture faults invisible to the naked eye.

"In addition, in an industry first, we have recently added LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) so when needed we can also carry out a vegetation inspection at the same time. All of this means it now takes less than a day to achieve what used to take a fortnight."