The solar electric Silent Falcon Unmanned Aircraft System recently completed oil and gas inspections at a facility in New Mexico.
The fixed wing long range, long endurance drone, from Silent Falcon UAS Technologies, performed the inspections for the international oil and gas company over two days, according to a news release. Flights were flown under the direction of Indiana State University.
The UAS carried two different payloads for the inspections—an electro optical/infrared full motion high definition video CM100 payload from Ascent Vision and a payload built by Silent Falcon containing a Niatros Gas Imaging MidWave Infrared Video Camera made by IRCameras. The UAS flew over wells, compressors, tank batteries and pipelines. The CM100 payload provided imagery for visual inspection while the Niatros Gas Imaging payload was used to detect leaks and to inspect liquid levels in tank batteries.
The data collected during the flights was streamed live to the Silent Falcon ground control station, while Matrix International completed post processing and detailed analysis of the data. This marked the first time sensors and data analysis and exploitation have combined to provide real time and in-depth information for oil and gas companies looking for data to support environmental compliance, production and distribution management, according to the release.
“We are excited to be a part of this ground breaking demonstration that proves the effectiveness of using the Silent Falcon UAS for such an important commercial application,” Silent Falcon CEO John W. Brown said. “Our ability to stay aloft for extended long range missions, quickly change payloads, and provide both live streaming video and data as well as post flight processing, analysis, exploitation and dissemination of the data collected underscores the effectiveness of the entire Silent Falcon system in both flight operations and post flight data analysis. We are grateful for the opportunity to team up with all involved in this first ever application of UAS technology.”