Wind turbine inspection by UAV Drone

The UK is well placed to take advantage of Wind Power, with some of the best conditions in Europe and high average wind speeds. Both onshore and offshore wind farms are an important part of where the UK sources its energy. Whilst these figures are impressive, wind turbine inspection by UAV drone is a critical part of maintaining safe and high operational standards so the maximum efficiency can be utilised.

Wind Farms are increasing in number throughout the UK and to help minimise loss of production UAV drone are currently being used to inspect the blades of the turbines for signs of lightning defects, erosion and strike damage as well as blade fatigue.

To date Aerial Media Scotland have completed over a 1000 Blades throughout the UK at 32 Wind Farms.

Traditional inspection techniques

Traditionally, Wind Turbine Inspection is a slow process that is inherently dangerous. Often, Wind Turbines would need to be stopped for a day and manually inspected by Rope Access. Today, UAV Drones have been used widely within the industry to speed up the process, making it safer, easier and more cost-effective method.

UAV Drones will not completely replace these methods, but it can provide quicker coverage of a Wind Farm and the ability to direct rope access technicians more efficiently to the defects found. Drones can dramatically reduce the risks of “working at height” and reduce loss of production.

wind turbine inspection by uav

Wind turbine inspections by UAV Drones are to be carried out for several reasons. Aerial Media Scotland provides the client with end of warranty inspections, Biannual inspection for repairs and planning maintenance to be carried out in the following months to satisfy the Client requirements, ensuring that the Wind Farm Turbines are running at maximum potential.

Benefits of wind turbine inspection by UAV drone

  • Safe working environment
  • Reducing the need for “Working at Height”
  • Reduced Loss of Production for the Client
  • 21 Minute flight time for three blades of 48.8m in length
  • Produce High Definition Images to analyse defects
  • Preventative maintenance planning

Wind turbine inspection by UAV Drone is a cost-effective and efficient method compared to traditional telephotography or rope access methods. With Drone Inspections, you can achieve both visual and thermal images at extremely high quality, for on-site analysis and assessment regarding the condition of the wind turbine blades. Aerial Media Scotland can confidently say that using UAV Drone Technology we will reduce the loss of production on each turbine due to the 21-minute flight time for all three blades.

Inspection of all aspects of all three blades (Pressure Side, Suction Side, Leading Edge and Trailing Edge) ensures all defects are noted and reported.

 

UAV Drone equipment

Aerial Media Scotland use both the AscTec Falcon 8 which are equipped with a Sony A7R (36mp) camera. Both equipment can operate safety 2 metres away from the blade at wind speeds of 13m/s. Therefore, increasing the capabilities of using UAV Drones for Blade Inspection.

Real time defect reporting

A Drone can be launched in minutes, flown to the Wind Turbine Blade, and deliver real-time high definition Images to the inspection team safely planted on the ground below. The on-site technicians help to identify the blade serial numbers (for reporting purposes) before positioning the Turbine in the ‘Y’ placement to certify 100% coverage of the blade is photographed. Confirming that all possible defects will be reported.

Using Drones to Inspection Wind Turbines can highlight the smallest defects. Aerial Media Scotland can pick up on Minor Micro pitting on a blade surface which is approximately less than 5mm diameter in some cases. The level of detail benefits you the end users of the reports created to carry out repairs, to ensure maximum production from the Turbine.

 

Producing in depth reports for the Client within days of completing inspection onsite.

 

All commercial work carried out by Drone must be done by a Drone Pilot with the necessary CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) authorisation and must hold a Permission for Commercial Operation (PfCO) from them.   This ensures that the inspection is carried out by a competent Drone Pilot, who will not expose the general public or aviation to unnecessary danger and also understands the law and adheres to regulations contained in the Air Navigation Order 2016 (ANO 2016).

Contact our drone training department

Call 01383 324541 today or use the contact form

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Drone qualified pilot

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