The solar electric Silent Falcon™ Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) successfully performed flights to demonstrate the effectiveness of using the Silent Falcon™ to inspect and monitor oil and gas production and distribution assets. The flights were performed over 2 days in northwestern New Mexico for a leading international oil and gas company and were flown under the direction of Indiana State University in compliance with the FAA COA issued to them permitting them to conduct these flights.
The flights were performed using 2 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 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.
This is one slick package. UAV, ground station, communications station, launcher and parachute recovery system are all integrated into one easy to transport and deploy system. 100 klick range. Carbon fiber mounting plates for payloads, comms and batteries. One screwdriver assembly.
You can see signs of the military influence everywhere, I particularly like the two-seater approach with a pilot and a payload operator. The video is vintage aerospace briefing style like we used to do in the early 80s, but tells the story.