With our inventory of state-of-the-art drone technology, we’re able to provide emergency response for natural and manmade disasters, lost or injured persons, event surveillance, comprehensive infrastructure assessments, patrol areas with stealth and at and time, day or night, thanks to our thermal imagery.
Drones in T&D
Drones provide a practical solution for the inspection of transmission an distribution (T&D) lines, as well as substations. Drones also support business efforts to avoid hazardous man-hours, reduce costs for maintenance, inspection/repairs, and minimize downtime.
Blue Line’s vast experience using drones include providing actionable inspection data on infrastructure across the United States to several Fortune 500 companies that include Walmart, Sam’s Clubs, Lowes, and Kohls.
Drones provide safe, efficient inspections and data collection for businesses across the energy industry. Trained pilots and experienced data analysts use drone technology to drastically reduce inspection times, save labor costs, and reduce hazardous manhours, while providing higher quality data that enables companies to maximize energy production.
Using drones in transmission & distribution today both opens new possibilities and replaces existing work. Without drones, inspections are typically completed manually, using climbing, bucket trucks, long0range photography, or helicopter. Clearly, manual inspections involving climbing or using buckets introduce hazards that are avoided with drones. Ground-based data collection typically lacks the detail and flexibility that a drone can provide. Helicopters can capture data quickly and over large areas of land, but they are expensive and often miss finer defects.
Drones can complete detailed inspections of 5-6 mile s of distribution poles per day capturing both thermal and RB imagery. Teams will benefit from a higher level of detail – missing pins, rust, damaged insulators – compared to typical ground of helicopter patrols, and thermal imagery can quickly identify hot spots. The more detailed and accurate data delivered by a drone inspection can enable companies to proactively identify more defects, which could lead to fewer power outages and reduce repair costs.
Keeping ‘boots on the ground’ is one of the most obvious benefits of drones. Crews can get a close-up view of a potential defect without climbing or using a bucket truck. Drones can also help avoid risks related to traversing across private property, accessing poorly maintained or dangerous right-of-way areas, and dealing with unknown conditions following a storm.
Drones can provide invaluable insights after a natural disaster when the terrain conditions may be unknown and fast response times are critical. Using drones allows quicker access to areas that may be locked by water or fallen trees. Drones can collect information that can help you send the right equipment and personnel to the right location in order to restore power as efficiently as possible.
A tornado has come through and damages several towers or poles in its path. Rather than putting men on foot to assess the damage across miles of terrain, you contact Blue Line’s Drone Team and do a survey of the area. The photos are uploaded and stitched together, creating on cohesive map. You’re able to see the path of destruction and key in on the damaged areas, allowing you to quickly and efficiently plan recovery measures.
Why Choose Blue Line Security
Scheduling of aircraft and sensor payload for each job, following equipment maintenance schedules, and completing repairs of upgrades as needed.
Tracking certification, licenses, training, and proficiency of each pilot; assigning pilots to each job, overseeing travel schedules; ensuring rest requirements are met; and measuring on-the-job performance.
Checking airspace, flight, and pilot rules and regulation for each job; ensuring that any necessary permits, licenses, training, or waivers are in place.
Determining flight schedule, pattern, altitude, and image capture specifications, as well as any weather-related requirements (e.g. temperature, light) to meet the data goals for the job.
Flying the drone and appropriate sensor payload, according to the flight plan and safety procedures, to collect the data from the job site.
Collecting all flight data such as flight path, altitude, speed, battery usage, and screen captures to effectively document and track the flight.
Automated and/or manual processing and analysis of the raw drone data to create a usable data product or report.
Storing, tracking, organizing, and delivering the reams of drone data collected, processed, and analyzed.
Continuously ensuring company policies are being followed, tracking program metrics, and measuring program benefits (e.g. costs and hazardous man-hours saved).
Pilots and Pilot Training
- Blue Line has dedicated licensed pilots to the drone program who are licensed with the FAA and undergo monthly training.
- The FAA requires any sUAV operator to have a Part 107 certification before flying for an commercial purpose. However, that is only the first step. Blue Line requires a three-part training program that includes basic introductory training, along with training specific to the type of equipment the pilot will use and the application in which he/she will use it.
- Introductory Training, covers the core principles of the program, such as maintenance guidelines, crew rest requirements, drug and alcohol policy, safety procedures, regulatory compliance, and more.
- Drone-Specific Training. Drone pilots receive hands-on training for the specific drone equipment they will be using. This type of training sets a baseline for safe operation of aircraft and ensuring that pilots can adequately take manual control of the aircraft at any time to avoid hazardous situations.
- Application-Specific Training. Pilots train to perform one or several specific industry applications. This includes such things as advanced flight skills for operating around high-voltage transmission lines, how to capture thermal imagery, or how to setup and fly a waypoint pattern. Pilots also train on proper data handling for their specific use, such as proper organizing and transfer of data files, as well as important data security techniques.