Tree Trimmer: Chainsaw on steroids - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Tree Trimmer: Chainsaw on steroids

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Roto Blade Roto Blade

It is one of the most unique sights you'll see for a while.

It is also a solution that makes tree trimming to avoiding power problems easier and more efficient.

19 Action News reporter Paul Orlousky found the solution was literally flown in by helicopter.

In the air the blades don't look as big as they are in reality, but on the ground your perspective changes.

Its called a roto blade: 10 saw blades, each two feet wide, dangling from the chopper that guides it to tree limbs that could interfere with power lines. It is a tool that means business.

It can handle limbs up to 10 inches wide, almost like a hot knife through butter. A lot of the heat comes from Pilot Henrik Bjorklund who both flies the chopper and operates the saw using both of his arms, legs and hands.

"You work a lot the whole time and you work by visual you lean out of the helicopter so everything is judged by your eyes, the whole time looking at the target," said Pilot Henrik Bjorklund.

The blade is especially effective in area's where ground equipment is tough to deploy. Mountains, steep slopes and swampy areas. In a test the roto blade cut an area in about three hours on the opposite side of the wires it took ground crews three weeks.

"We're able to prune a lot more vegetation in a shorter amount of time," said Bjorklund.

In 2004 a tree limb in Eastlake was part of a series of events that plunged a large portion of the east coast into darkness. It underscores the importance of trimming.

The roto blade costs $100,000. 

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