Albuquerque, N.M.-based Silent Falcon UAS Technologies says its solar-electric Silent Falcon unmanned aircraft system (UAS) recently performed inspection and monitoring in northwestern New Mexico for an international oil and gas company.
The demonstration flights were conducted over two days under the direction of Indiana State University and its Federal Aviation Administration authorization.
The flights were performed using two different payloads: an electro optical/infrared full-motion high-definition video CM100 payload, made by Ascent Vision, and Silent Falcon-built payload containing a Niatros optical gas infrared video camera from IRCameras.
The flights were flown over a wide area over numerous wells, compressors, tank batteries and pipelines. The purpose of the flights was two-fold: to provide visual inspection of the assets and to detect “fugitive hydrocarbon emissions” or leaks, explains Silent Falcon. The CM100 payload was used to provide aerial visual inspection, and the Niatros payload was used to detect leaks and inspect liquid levels in tank batteries.
The video evidence and associated metadata collected from the flights was streamed live to the Silent Falcon ground control station during the flights and conclusively demonstrated the effectiveness of using this drone for these purposes, the company says. Post-processing of the video and metadata collected was done by Matrix International.
“We are excited to be a part of this groundbreaking demonstration that proves the effectiveness of using the Silent Falcon UAS for such an important commercial application,” says John W. Brown, CEO of Silent Falcon.
“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.”
Photo courtesy of Silent Falcon UAS Technologies