Airplane Results from the 2021 Season
At the beginning of this year when we announced that we were beginning to add aerial thermography by airplane to the mix we got some raised eyebrows followed by a whole lot of questions. How can you get the same resolution? How can you find all the anomalies? Isn't that more expensive? You get the idea. While a majority of our clients were on board with this new inspection method, we still have some lingering questions unanswered. So without further ado, after flying 800 sites, roughly 2GW in these past few months, here are the answers we've collected for you this year.
Q: How many hectares/MW can you fly in one day?
A: Under the best conditions we can fly 200ha/ 300MW per day, this means we can begin to complete large scale sites within days rather than weeks.
Being able to fly 300MW in one day does not mean we only fly plants of that scale. As you can see in the picture below, we can also fly multiple smaller plants in the same flight. We are sure to make the most of each flight with a fully packed flight plan to make the trip worthwhile.
Q: Isn't the resolution better with the drone?
A: Correct, imagine we are flying 300m above the plant with the airplane and 30m with the drone, so yes, of course the resolution is different. However, the most important part and the aim of these flights in the first place, is to identify and classify the anomalies throughout the plant. As you can see in the image below, the anomalies that are visible are the same in both inspections, one which was captured by drone and one by plane. Are you able to spot the difference?
Q. How is it possible to see all the anomalies if you're flying at 300m high?
A: Our camera is equipped with a cooled sensor that has a thermal accuracy of 1-2 degrees. This means that anything in the range of the lens will provide a temperature value and with the stabilisers equipped we have no problem properly evaluating all anomalies accurately. Then we use the same AI and quality procedures as we do with drone to be as accurate as possible in identifying all the anomalies.
Q: Isn't it more expensive?
A: Looking at the costs of each solution, actually the plane is cheaper, this is due to the scale of site that we normally scan with this solution or the volume of sites that are available to fly. As we can inspect a huge amount of MW in a similar location in one day, it makes the airplane solution very cost effective. Not only this but we also save time on permissions and organisation both us and the client. With plane we don’t need to complete the rigorous health and safety forms of some sites, following this we can schedule a day to fly when there are the correct weather conditions and complete large-scale sites in no time at all.
Q: Doesn’t the airplane fly too fast and create image blur?
A: This question was one of our main priorities when initiating the project. Thanks to the specialised gimbal, stabilisers and SmartBay© camera from our partner DigiSky, we can fly without these issues and create high quality analysis for all sites.
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