Advantages of Drone Aerial Inspections over Traditional Inspection Methods

Drones are relatively new to the world of industrial surveillance and inspection, but they are here to stay. In fact, it is safe to say that we have just scratched the surface of drone’s capabilities for aerial inspections. Drones offer tremendous advantages to conduct safe visual and thermal inspections for a number of infrastructure industries, to include telecommunications, power and utilities, oil and gas pipelines, mining, wind turbines, and solar energy to name a few.

One of the primary advantages in using drones to conduct aerial inspections is the greatly increased safety factor which they provide. Drones offer the distinct advantage of providing imagery in several formats for inspections on tall structures, inspections which traditionally have been carried out by climbing the structure and using fall protection to survey the structure. Using Inspectifly’s industrial drone services for aerial inspection, makes great sense. The inspection is conducted from the safety of the ground and offers the ability to view live video feed, still photographs, or a pre-planned video recording.

Wind Turbine & Wind Farm Inspections

Using Inspectifly’s aerial inspection service to inspect wind farms is particularly advantageous since Inspectifly’s operators can fly from one wind turbine to the next, if necessary, allowing inspectors to view many different unit in geographically vast turbine farms, all without ever moving. This translates to scores of man-hours saved, as well as eliminating the high level of risk associated with conducting exterior inspections of turbine units with personnel on the unit itself.

Telecommunication Tower Inspections

Using Inspectifly’s aerial inspection service to inspect cellular towers is extremely advantageous as Inspectifly’s operators can fly the entire tower allowing inspection of the tower structure and mounted equipment. Removing the high level of risk associated with conducting a climbing inspection. In addition to the safety benefits, using drones allows the inspection to be completed from a safe distance eliminating the risk of damage to components due to climbing. Photo or video inspections provide historical data that can be referenced at a later date.

Utility Power and Sub-Stations Inspection

Inspectifly’s aerial inspection of power stations and sub-stations is a new and emerging technique, one which is very exciting because of the distinct advantages it offers our customer. Due to a drone’s light weight, small size, and gyroscopic stability, coupled with radiometric thermal imaging sensors and high resolution digital camera, allow us to quickly, efficiently and safely inspect critical power plant structures, equipment, transformers, connections, Etc.

Farther down the literal powerline, manned aircraft have long been tasked with checking long stretches of power lines and fossil fuel pipelines. While effective, drones offer one distinct advantage over manned aircraft that cannot be replicated: drones allow the operator to slow down and inspect much more thoroughly, or even hover and move in or zoom for a close inspection. The employment of Inspectifly’s industrial drone services provides a distinct and extremely effective set of advantages in any industrial avenue where inspections are necessary.

Green Energy & Solar Power Inspection

Another segment of the Green Energy market that has steadily risen in popularity and demand is solar power. Solar parks cover huge areas, spanning considerable acreage, and must be inspected regularly. This task may lack some of the inherent risk and liability of utilities which use tall structures, but it is certainly no less time consuming for workers to physically inspect each unit. This could entail thousands of individual solar panels, translating to hours of effort just in transit throughout the park alone.

Choosing to employ Inspectifly’s UAS aerial inspection service provides the ability to drastically reduce inspection times. Inspectifly’s drones can use pre-determined flight paths, allowing for repeatable inspection of the entire solar park. Photo and video inspections can be conducted without the need for company employees to be onsite in some instances.

This is a service which is unmatched by any manned aircraft for a couple of reason: first, fixed-wing airplanes are too fast and cannot operate low enough to view the individual panels. Second, helicopters can fly at the requisite low levels, but they kick up enough dirt and debris to pose serious risk to the solar panels. Since a drone is highly portable and can be carried in and out of nearly any location on foot, the support required for their efficient operation is nearly nil, and their footprint is nonexistent. Inspectifly’s drone inspection service offers great advantages in solar energy inspections.

Energy Oil & Gas Industrial Inspection

The demand for domestic oil and gas is very high. With that comes the necessary infrastructure to pump, transport and ultimately refine the product. As of 2014, there were some 56,375 miles of crude oil pipeline in the U.S., and 89,663 miles of product lines[1]. Furthermore, there were over 1.5 million miles of gas pipelines at that same time, and the numbers are growing. Pipelines may be equipped with sensors to indicate leaks. However, they still require visual exterior inspections to confirm integrity of the system.

Traditionally the inspections have been conducted at ground level, or again, by manned aircraft. However, these both have shortcomings. On the ground, pipelines routinely run through the most remote areas of the country. This translates to difficulty in accessing the prescribed areas by methods other than off-road vehicles. Manned aircraft have been used to perform pipeline inspection for some time now. One major drawback is they cannot get close enough to the pipelines to do more than identify major problems. Aircraft are generally not camera equipped, so incidents are not recorded for further assessment or documentation. A drone gives the distinct advantage of recording the exact GPS location of the discrepancy. Drones can also provide a live video feed, video recording, or still photos of the potential problem area. Inspectifly’s operators can maneuver the drone to provide extremely detailed images.

The usefulness of Inspectifly’s industrial drone inspection services in the energy industry is not limited to pipelines. The same principles which make our services so effective and efficient in the field also applies to refineries. Inspectifly can inspect flare tips, tanks, towers, piping, utility services and other equipment from the safety of the ground.

Inspectifly’s Industrial Drone Services

Inspectifly’s utilizes state of the art drones. Our drones provide the ability to loiter at low speeds, as well as hover for extended periods of time. Our drone’s cameras provide up to 16 megapixel images and have zoom capability. Inspectifly utilizes top of the line high resolution radiometric FLIR thermal imaging sensors to provide thermal image inspections. Inspectifly provides a very diverse array of industrial drone services. For more information please

[1] https://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_01_10.html