BEATRICE – Residents in southeast Nebraska may notice a helicopter making several low-altitude passes around the area in the coming weeks.

Starting in mid-to late-June for as long as a week, a helicopter towing a large hoop from a cable will start making low-level flights over parts of Jefferson and Gage Counties as part of a geological and aquifer mapping study.  The project could begin as late as early July depending on weather and project timeframes.

The helicopter will fly along pre-planned flight paths about 100 to 200 feet above the surface.  A sensor resembling a large hula-hoop will be towed beneath the helicopter to measure tiny electromagnetic signals that can be used to map features below the Earth’s surface.

The study will be conducted by Aqua Geo Frameworks LLC, with the flying done by SkyTemApS...using pilots from Livewire Aviation.....trained for low-level flying.

The project works with the FAA to ensure flights are safe and in compliance with U.S. law. Flights will not happen directly above populated areas. 

This type of aerial survey for groundwater investigations has been done in Nebraska, Iowa, Colorado, Wyoming, and California. The method can produce critical information about groundwater resources over large areas, without the need for intensive ground-based work. 

This work is part of a Lower Big Blue Natural Resources District project partly funded by the Nebraska Water sustainability Fund.