Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Commercial Operations in the Utility Industry

  • Room: XPO Hall- Booth 1635
Tuesday, May 09, 2017: 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM


Alfred Gates
sUAS Pilot, CFI Helicopter
Central Connecticut State University


sUAS Commercial Operations in the Utility Industry Alfred A. Gates, Ph.D., P.E. sUAS Pilot, CFI Helicopter Department of Engineering Central Connecticut State University Kathryn G. Swift, CEO Software Engineer Pinnacl X Over 700 high voltage transmission towers in New England have been inspected using small unmanned aircraft systems, sUAS. Most flights were conducted from right of ways with vegetation thirty to eighty feet tall on both sides. In some cases the sUAS had to be flown from dense brush into the right of way for access due to the overgrown right of way or wetlands. Additionally in some right of ways there were several transmission structures with line spacing of 25 feet or less. The inspection team developed a small light weight sUAS with a high resolution camera system which was beneficial for navigation and obtaining close up photos of hardware. It was determined that some sUAS are not capable of flight next to transmission lines due to electromagnetic interference. Additionally the overall operation and aircraft system has been modified to enhance the capability for aerial inspection. Some of the key successes will be presented such as: flight within the wire zone, flight with poor GPS signals, prevention of fly away situations and common problems associated with structure types. The sUAS operating procedures and inspection specifications will also be reviewed.


Who Should Attend

Target Audience
• Utility engineering
• Utility inspection services
• sUAS commercial operators involved with inspection