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HMLP inspection in busy airspace

posted Apr 28, 2017, 8:29 AM by George Finlay
This month we finished inspecting 235 high mast light poles (HMLPs) for New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), subcontracted by S&R Engineers, which specializes in transportation inspections. 

These poles are used at major intersections. As you can see on our map, this means they are concentrated in the northeast part of the state, where busy airports are also concentrated. So for much of this project we were working under FAA waivers allowing us to operate in controlled airspace. These included what was to our knowledge the first waiver allowing drone flights in Class B airspace around Newark Liberty International Airport (KEWR). Our Newark waiver, along our waivers for Teterboro (KTEB), Essex County (KCDW), and Trenton (KTTN) are attached.

As experienced pilots we were already familiar with air traffic communication procedures. And since drone flights are a new type of operations for most controllers, we visited each tower, introduced ourselves, and went over their needs and expectations before beginning operations.

This is the first time NJDOT has used drones for inspections, which led Glenn Stott, NJDOT UAS coordinator, to contribute to an article in Rotor Daily March 3 2017 which explains how drones can do this work more safely and efficiently than methods previously used. In the past, getting a view of the top of these 100 foot poles meant using binoculars or if a closer view was necessary, using a heavy man lift truck which meant closing lanes to traffic and sometimes removing guard rails which is more expensive and less safe.

In minutes we were able to launch our drone and give the inspector a close up view. Sometimes he was surprised at what he found.



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George Finlay,
Apr 28, 2017, 8:29 AM
Ċ
George Finlay,
Apr 28, 2017, 8:29 AM
Ċ
George Finlay,
Apr 28, 2017, 8:29 AM
Ċ
George Finlay,
Apr 28, 2017, 8:29 AM
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