What's that in the sky?

Flight radar route of aerial survey aircraft
The aircraft's route could be seen on the FlightRadar24 website

If you have seen an aircraft tracking back and forth in the skies in recent weeks you might like to know it is mapping power lines and trees to help prevent power cuts.

The Danish Vulcanair plane has been spotted above the Isle of Wight, Hampshire and West Sussex in recent weeks, prompting speculation about its purpose.

A spokesman for NM Group, a specialist in scanning power lines, said it was using 3D scanning technology to identify vegetation near power lines in Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ central southern England network area.

He said: "Identifying vegetation that is too close to the network, in this way, helps ensure that SSEN field teams can complete targeted tree trimming and maintenance work. This proactive tree management reduces the chance of service interruptions."

View from aerial survey aircraft
NM Group
View of Isle of Wight power lines from the aerial survey aircraft