- LAST NEWS: NASA Includes Swedish UAV in BVLOS Testing
- LAST NEWS: Germany Plans New Drone Regulations
- LAST NEWS: Drone World Expo 2017 – Registration Now Open
- LAST NEWS: $1M Prize for Bridge Inspection by Drones
- LAST NEWS: South Korea to Train 1,700 Drone Operators Annually
- LAST NEWS: Leidos Pilots New Service for UAS
- LAST NEWS: First BVLoS Power Line Inspection Flight in New Zealand
- LAST NEWS: DARPA Awards Phase 2 Gremlins Program Contracts
- LAST NEWS: Amazon Patents Drones with Telescoping Landing Legs
- LAST NEWS: US Air Force Buys Drone-Snagging Shotgun Shells
New York Power Authority Tests Drone Inspections
A team from the New York Power Authority joined some Ontario Power Generation representatives to fly a drone around the Robert Moses Dam and St. Lawrence spillway as part of NYPA’s research into launching its own drone inspection program.
“We currently do not own any drones,” said Alan Ettlinger, NYPA’s research, technology development and innovation director.
But, if drones are capable of performing the types of work NYPA would like, the flying objects could become part of the organization’s inventory. NYPA is currently putting specifications together to purchase drones.
“I would say we’ve been looking at it for about a year-and-a-half or so. We’ve been doing various tests. We’re making sure we’re dotting all the I’s and crossing the T’s before we fully implement it. We want to make sure we are safe and sound before we do anything,” Mr. Ettlinger said.
There would be several advantages, he said.
“Using drones to inspect power lines would keep inspectors from having to climb the lines and potentially put themselves in danger. The aircraft could also inspect dams, do post-storm assessments, view vegetation under power lines, and perhaps even be used to secure safety cables for workers climbing towers,” Mr. Ettlinger said.
NYPA is interested in seeing how well the drones perform around transmission lines — if there’s the potential for the drones to be impacted by the line’s electromagnetic forces, he said. The authority is working with the Electric Power Research Institute to conduct those tests.
So far, so good, Ettlinger said, noting they haven’t found any issues yet because plastics and carbon fiber make up most of the components in the drones.
Last week’s testing between NYPA and Ontario Power Generation, which owned the drone, was designed to show how unmanned aircraft systems can help utilities more effectively monitor and maintain their assets. For that test, officials were shown how a SkyRanger drone equipped with both a 30X optical zoom lens and an infrared camera could be used to locate ice fishermen or boats along the spillway or river, day or night.
The craft also demonstrated how it could be used to survey and map the Moses-Saunders Power Dam. The drone pilot viewed the aircraft’s video on a hand-held control station, panning the cameras in both directions and zooming in on points of interest. The aircraft was able to follow a moving target, fly for up to 50 minutes and give a warning in strong winds.
Launching from the Barnhart Island Bridge, officials saw the drone’s video capabilities by scanning Long Sault Dam. In a final test, the drone was sent from the parking lot of the Moses plant and alongside the full length of the dam to show its survey and mapping capabilities.
The two organizations had also used a drone in January to inspect the ice boom between Lake Erie and the Niagara River. NYPA had also participated earlier in a drone demonstration along its transmission lines near the Bleinheim-Gilboa power project, which Mr. Ettlinger said was “very successful.”
“We are looking at different applications, primarily inspections,” he said.
It would come in particularly handy for events like post-storm investigations or to see if there’s an issue with a transmission line. If a drone is readily available, it can do a spot inspection of the line. The transmission line inspection is currently done using a helicopter fly-by, which he said couldn’t get as close to a line as the drone. The drone could also get into areas where the helicopter could not maneuver.
“I think the biggest advantage is that it’s a tool that’s immediately available to us to do an inspection,” Mr. Ettlinger said.
Region: USA and Canada
2017-03-23Drone World Expo 2017 – Registration Now Open
Registration is now open for Drone World Expo 2017. From October 3-4, the 3rd annual Drone World Expo will once again gather thousands of thought leaders, end-users and decision makers in the commercial drone industry at the San Jose Convention Center.
2017-03-20DARPA Awards Phase 2 Gremlins Program Contracts
DARPA recently completed Phase 1 of its Gremlins program, which envisions volleys of low-cost, reusable unmanned aerial systems (UASs)—or “gremlins”—that could be launched and later retrieved in mid-air. Taking the program to its next stage, the Agency has now awarded Phase 2 contracts to two teams, one led by Dynetics, Inc. (Huntsville, Ala.) and the other by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (San Diego, Calif.).
2017-03-20Amazon Patents Drones with Telescoping Landing Legs
A diagram shows how an Amazon drone could land on a sloping surface while keeping its main frame level, thanks to telescoping landing legs. (Amazon Illustration via USPTO)
2017-03-17US Air Force Buys Drone-Snagging Shotgun Shells
US Air Force security forces, as well as other military personnel and federal law enforcement agencies, may soon be getting a new tool to take down small commercial drones: shotgun shells with a net. The special cartridge is just one system the Pentagon has been looking at to manage the growing threat from small and readily available quad-and hex-copter-type unmanned aircraft.
2017-03-15US Deploys Gray Eagle Systems to South Korea
The U.S. military is deploying a new Gray Eagle attack drone system in South Korea as it moves to bolster capabilities against a growing threat from the North.
2017-03-14USAF Tests Drone for C-17 Post-Flight Inspection
The 412th Test Wing’s Emerging Technologies Combined Test Force used a quadcopter to conduct a maintenance inspection of the exterior of a C-17 Globemaster III here March 6, 2017.
2017-03-09USAF Pays $15.6 Million for Anti-Drone Systems
The US Air Force awarded a $15.6 million contract to ELTA North America Inc., to deliver 21 “counter-unmanned aerial systems,” according to a Feb. 21 Pentagon announcement.
2016-11-30Type-Certifiable Predator B Takes Flight
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), has announced that its Type-Certifiable Predator B (TCPB) variant completed its first flight test at the company’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility near Palmdale, Calif., on November 17th.
2016-11-21FAA Evaluates Drone Detection Systems Around Denver
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) that enter the protected airspace around airports can pose serious threats to safety. The FAA is coordinating with our government and industry partners to evaluate technologies that can be used safely to detect drones near airports.
2016-11-17New York Makes $30M Public Investment in Drones
The state of New York is pouring big money into making its central territory an international draw for unmanned aerial system (UAS) innovation.Govenor Andrew Cuomo announced Nov. 10 that $30 million in public funds would be applied toward the creation of a 50-mile-long research corridor to aid in the development of a UAS traffic management system and bolster the state’s standing as an innovation hub.
13 Takeaways from The White House Workshop
13 Takeaways from The White House Workshop
2012-04-05 Hydrogen-powered Fuel Cell Flies ScanEagle