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AEP Ohio contracts helicopters, workers for new transmission lines

Crews will be adding 10 miles of line from Dublin to Galloway which will be completed by the end of the year.

For residents of Northwest Franklin County, Monday morning began with a sight they had to see to believe.

"[My family] was driving by and they said 'Dad, have you seen that helicopter pick that guy up and dangle him from those wires?'," said Rocco Eramo.

AEP contracted workers to work on lines in the area. The best way is by helicopter. Brett Schmied with AEP said contracted workers are adding about 10 miles of power lines to existing towers that will help increase transmission in the area. The stretch reaches from Dublin to Galloway and will be a part of a new substation being built.

"We have a new substation being built in the Galloway area," Schmied said. "Both of these lines will be powering that new substation."

Schmied said the helicopter makes it easier for both transporting equipment and for workers having to navigate through the more congested areas where towers might be. He also says using helicopters does not cost consumers any more money.

"It's actually a cost benefit," he said. "It's not going to be an additional expense to use a helicopter comparing to adding access roads and other construction activity at each tower within that 10-mile stretch."

The helicopter is why Eramo came out, Monday, to the landing zone stationed in Hilliard.

Eramo graduated from the Army Reserve flight school in 1965 and flew helicopters for the 364th Engineer Group out of Columbus. He was a pilot for 22 years.

Even with all his experience, the 77-year-old said he still wouldn't consider this line of work.

"I used to fly helicopters," he said. "You wouldn't get me to be underneath a helicopter."