YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – First Energy is taking to the air to survey power lines and trim trees in Western Pennsylvania and Northeast Ohio this summer.

Low flying helicopters are in the air taking a close look at power lines and helping out with tree trimming. They always cause a stir with local residents wondering what is going on.

The view is pretty spectacular. Some of the helicopters are equipped with giant saws that dangle from the air in lush, hard to reach areas where the machines trim trees and vegetation to prevent tree-related outages.

Since the beginning of the year, tree contractors have been working to trim nearly 6,200 miles of electric lines in the Ohio Edison and Penn Power service area.

“We want to make sure we can meet that system reliability for the increase in demand for electricity during the hot summer months. Summer is here and we are doing our part to make sure that we can keep the lights on for our customers when they depend on it to keep cool,” said First Energy Spokesperson Lauren Siburkis.

In addition to the trimming, the helicopters are on track to inspect by air nearly 5,500 miles of transmission lines across Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.

The air patrols are looking for damaged wire, broken and failed components and other hardware problems not visible from the ground.

Problems that are seen are fixed before a power outage happens.

“We’ve been completing this work for the past several months and will continue to work through the summer and through the fall. We will need to prepare for winter storms as well,” Sibrukis said.