In The Aftermath of the Hurricane: Critical Infrastructure Inspections with BVLOS

May 26, 2021
Soaring Eagle Imaging performs 51-mile BVLOS utility inspection in six hours using Censys Technologies Sentaero v2VTOL.

Hurricane Barry made landfall in Louisiana on the afternoon of July 13, 2019. Critical infrastructure that keeps the lights on near Baton Rouge needed inspection in the aftermath. With 25.5 miles of 500kV power lines as the target, it was imperative to expedite the inspections.

Soaring Eagle Imaging (SEI) stepped up for a major Louisiana energy provider and began conducting Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flights using a Censys Technologies Sentaero v2VTOL with no remote visual observers once it was determined that safe flights could be conducted. In three missions, the single crew was able to capture 51 miles worth of detailed information in six total hours of time in the field – including setup, tear-down, and transit. This enabled identification of the scope of damage and corresponding locations, helping facilitate swift repairs.

Currently, there are only 30 commercial entities with approved BVLOS waivers in the United States, making these flights rare. Soaring Eagle Imaging is a professional aviation organization, and a partner/customer of Censys Technologies that utilizes unmanned technology for multiple inspection applications to serve a host of enterprise clients. Having over 30,000 manned aviation hours to accompany their 3,000+ UAS hours, SEI brings a strong safety culture to every operation. This is reflected in the 17 emergency Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) waivers they have been granted in the past.

Following are images from the inspection.

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