North American Windpower reported that drones were used to inspect all 264 blades across 88 wind turbines of a Statoil wind farm, covering an area of approximately 22 square miles, located off the coast of England. The so-called Sheringham Shoal Wind Farm is one of the ten largest wind farms in existence and has a capacity of 317 MW, enough to power up to 220,000 homes in the U.K.
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The Sheringham Shoal farm is operated by Statoil and for the turbine inspection, they partnered with Martek Aviation. Each of the 200 drone flights took about 8 minutes to inspect the 3.6 MW turbines. The blades on the turbines have an of 170 feet and a tower height of 262 feet.
The drone inspections allowed the company to “perform excellent quality inspections on all turbine blades” and be “more efficient, safe and profitable,” according to Dale Symonds, senior engineer at Statoil for Sheringham Shoal.