NYSEARCH members remain active in planning and executing test flights of the small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) that NYSEARCH is authorized through FAA to use for gas company facility inspection flights. While NYSEG, RG & E and SoCal Gas have already conducted test flights, in September and October 2016, Baltimore Gas & Electric and Union Gas also worked with NYSEARCH Staff and its contractor, Pictometry, to conduct additional flights to inspect company-owned facilities such as bridge crossings, gate stations, Right-of-Ways (ROWs) and other gas company assets with the sUAS. In addition, at Union Gas, a methane detector from Europe, sold by Pergam, was also applied with the system.
Illustrated on this page (left side) are pictures from the fall test sites. The first picture shows the sUAS in operation under a river crossing inspecting a pipe in BG & E’s Deer Creek area. The second picture shows the sUAS in operation at Union Gas’ Gate Station and performing an inspection inside a fenced area from outside. Also shown is a scene at Union Gas where the sUAS pilot, Mr. Mark Winkelbauer of Pictometry, explains the use of the methane detector in the test, to Union Gas employees.
Both tests provided lessons learned and were deemed a success. Additional tests that include use of the purchased methane detector are being planned for other funding members.
For over thirty years, NYSEARCH has worked as a consortium of natural gas Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) who have a common interest and need for research and technology development and demonstration. Today, as part of the Northeast Gas Association (NGA), NYSEARCH manages over (30) projects in various stages of development for LDCs, transmission companies, federal agencies and their manufacturing and commercial partners. NYSEARCH is located in Parsippany, NJ and NGA is headquartered in Needham, Massachusetts.