Update 2:28 p.m. Thursday June 6: SCE Media Advisor of Corporate Communications Mary Ann Milbourn also confirmed today that the helicopters have been hired by SCE to survey lines and poles in the area to not only prevent catastrophes, but to protect residents and visitors to the mountain communities. She also said that depending on weather, the work will continue on and off for a few more weeks.
PIO Zachary Behrens said he talked to SCE Government Affairs about notifying the Town Crier when helicopters were planning to do more surveys in this area.
Update 10:29 a.m. Thursday, June 6: Federal Aviation Administration Aviation Safety Inspector Darren Richards just confirmed with the Town Crier that Summit, the helicopter service SCE uses, has had helicopters in the Idyllwild Area surveying for problems with poles and lines this week and last week. He said he spoke with a Summit representative. Richards also said Summit is operating with in applicable FAA laws. Told that SCE PIO David Song denied SCE was doing surveying, Richards said the FAA would contact SCE to get everybody on the same page. He added that he did not know if SCE has completed the surveying.
Update 10:19 a.m. Thursday, June 6: Stephanie Stethem of the Riverside County Film Commission said her agency did not issue a permit for filming in the Idyllwild area.
Original story: A green McDonnell Douglas helicopter owned by Shoreline Aircraft Leasing circled over Idyllwild residential/business areas for several hours Wednesday, June 5.
When the Town Crier tried to contact the company located in Lewes, Delaware, no phone number could be found.
Southern California Edison Public Information Officer David Song said Edison only uses Summit as a contractor when it routinely inspects poles and lines from the air, and notifies the community when this occurs. When asked if Summit might subcontract the service, he said that would be a problem for SCE so no. He also said SCE does not spend hours doing the inspections. “That’s not how our helicopters work,” said Song.
Photo by Jenny Kirchner
U.S. Forest Service Public Information Officer Zachary Behrens for the San Bernardino National Forest and Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Leonard Purvis both said the helicopter had not connection to their organizations.
In the meantime, the Federal Aviation Administration in Riverside is investigating the flight after the Town Crier called that office about the low-flying aircraft and the numerous complaints from residents who called the Town Crier office because of the noise.
Last week, a Hughes 369D helicopter owned by Dragonfly Aviation LLC out of Laredo, Texas, also carried out a similar flight pattern over the area for several days.