Drone (sUAS) Inspections

Drones represent a unique opportunity for those working in the oil/ gas and midstream industries. Many of the storage tanks, pipelines and facilities that are maintained and operated by our clients are large and unwieldy to inspect manually. Drone surveys present an opportunity to access these and other hard to reach areas, but the relative youth of industrial applications, the restrictions in place and the variety of packages can make it hard to understand what pilots can offer site managers. GSI aims to cut through this confusion and present our clients with a straightforward approach to drone applications for all varieties site inspection and management.

With the miniaturization of technology over time and the increasing efficiency of Lithium Ion batteries, small unmanned aerial vehicles (sUAS’s) arrived on the market as early as the 1950’s. Though at the time they were just called RC planes, the principle was the same, miniaturization of fixed wing aircrafts controlled remotely. This principle was also applied to helicopters, though they tended to be large and unwieldy, but by 2016 DJI had perfected their 4 propeller style quadcopters, with models such as the Mavic, Inspire and Phantom series. This lifetime of evolution culminates with drones that are nimble, durable and wield high-quality cameras.

What are the Drone Restrictions?

However, in response to the rapid explosion of drones into the consumer and industrial markets, the FAA has come down swiftly with rulings to ensure the safety of both pilots and bystanders. Pilots must be licensed and operate only where the airspace is unregulated by nearby airports. Many terminals may be safe for the operation of a drone but those in proximity to airports may require additional authorization before aerial mapping can be performed. Other restrictions also exist when operating in an unsafe or ambiguous situation such as beyond the line of sight for the drone pilot or at night, these restrictions can be waived with federal permission but must be applied for well in advance. A full list of restrictions can be found at the FAA website, linked below.

Get in Touch with GSI Environmental

At GSI we are committed to both providing our customers with the most up to date deliverables possible using drone capabilities while remaining compliant with federal requirements. We fly a DJI Inspire 1 with an interchangeable Zenmuse x5 camera and our pilots are 107 certified and fully insured. We work with site inspectors to provide close up photographic inspections, 3D models, contour maps and DEM profiles all at a competitive price.

If you would like more information on how GSI’s drone inspections can benefit your company, please feel free to contact us!

FAA restrictions: https://www.faa.gov/uas/commercial_operators/