Silent Falcon UAS Technologies recently completed flights with a solar electric, fixed wing, long range unmanned aircraft system to inspect and monitor oil and gas production and distribution assets.
The flights were performed for a leading international oil and gas company with the Silent Falcon UAS over two days in northwestern New Mexico under the direction of Indiana State University.
The Silent Falcon’s solar electric propulsion systems gives it the unique ability to stay in the air for extended periods of time – five or more hours depending on environmental conditions. It’s also what gives the Silent Falcon its ability to be virtually silent. Once the Silent Falcon reaches 100 meters, it’s effectively undetectable.
The flights were performed using two different payloads – an electro optical/infrared full motion high definition video CM100 payload made by Ascent Vision and a payload built by Silent Falcon containing a niatros gas imaging midwave infrared video camera made by IRCameras.
The flights were flown over a wide area and over numerous wells, compressors, tank batteries and pipelines. The purpose of the flights was two-fold: to provide visual inspection of these assets and to detect “fugitive hydrocarbon emissions” or leaks.
The CM100 payload was used to provide aerial visual inspection using its high definition and infrared video cameras. The Niatros Gas Imaging payload was used to detect leaks and to inspect liquid levels in tank batteries. Both capabilities are critical to environmental compliance and effective management of oil and gas production and distribution infrastructure.
The video and associated metadata collected from the flights was streamed live to the Silent Falcon ground control station during the flights. Post processing of the video and metadata collected was done by Matrix International, who provided detailed analysis and exploitation of the video and data.
“We are excited to be a part of this groundbreaking demonstration,” said John W. Brown, Silent Falcon’s CEO. “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.”
For more information on Silent Falcon UAS, please visit www.silentfalconuas.com.