For aerially inspecting wind turbines and other structures, drone pilots come into action. During our mission in Texas, drone pilot Andrew Haskins from National Drone Pros learned how to operate the Sterblue App — in one day. Andrew is also part of the DroneBase network.
Drones with Sterblue software are already flying in four continents and twelve countries. As our company is growing, our pilot network needs to grow as well. Indeed, we need to rely on experienced drone pilots distributed all over the world in order to ensure fast and high-quality inspection processes.
“Teaming up with the best partners is key to provide the highest value proposition and service to our customers in the US and all over the world!” Geoffrey Vancassel, Sterblue CEO
But how does the training for the Sterblue App look like? And who can fly a drone for Sterblue? Get some insights from our training with Andrew who now operates for Sterblue in the US.
How does the training look like?
Being trained to the Sterblue App on field can seamlessly be done in one day! The App allows to fly automatically around the three blades and four faces of a wind turbine. The production downtime is then optimized with a highly standardized data collection phase.
Our training process is carried out in three steps:
- Pilot qualification interview (30 minutes)
- Online training (45 minutes)
- Onsite training (1 day)
Before the actual training, we introduce ourselves in a 30 minute interview and check about our past experiences as well as future expectations.
This is followed by an online training session, consisting of videos, exercises and tests. Here, the learner can gain insights into the Sterblue solution in an interactive way. The online training can be completed in 45 minutes.
After passing the first two steps, we start the actual onsite training.
For learning how to inspect wind turbines, Andrew joined our experienced Sterblue drone pilot on field in Texas. We believe that involving the pilot in a real mission provides the best learning experience.
On the first day of operation, we met at the wind farm in Texas for a safety walk, before heading out to the first turbine. While training pilots to our App, we take as much time as needed in inspecting the first structures. This way, we can ensure that the pilot is fully comfortable and understands each point of the mission and the App. While inspecting the first turbine for about three hours, Andrew was in control of the drone the entire time with the supervision of our Sterblue instructor.
“After a few hours training on the Sterblue software I felt really comfortable flying around the turbine blades. Once you deploy the drone and perform the calibration a majority of the work is done and the autonomous portion of the mission is in play.
I was amazed at how easy it is to use and the precision with which the drone operates. I look forward to working with Sterblue again in the future and will hopefully be inspecting many more turbines using the Sterblue software.” Andrew Haskins, National Drone Pros
During the following two days, he kept on inspecting wind turbines guided by a Sterblue instructor. This way, he increased his productivity with the Sterblue solution while ensuring good quality inspections. At the end of his training, Andrew inspected ten wind turbines in one day and a half.
“Andrew was very professional and learned so fast. It was a pleasure working together during this mission in Texas!” Ignacio Carnicero, Flight Software Engineer & Instructor at Sterblue
On his next project for Sterblue at the end of July, Andrew will inspect 29 wind turbines in less than one week. The perspectives of working with us are promising: the US wind market is big and there is a constant need for inspecting and maintaining wind turbines.
How to become a Sterblue drone pilot?
In order to create good conditions for the inspection process, you need to meet requirements in terms of
At Sterblue, we look for professional drone operators being experienced from working in the industry.
To follow on customer projects all over the world, our drone operators are distributed globally. This is to ensure that each drone inspector can act locally, for long and frequent travels to be avoided. For some upcoming projects, we are especially looking for drone operators in the US.
Operating for Sterblue, you need to have specific equipment: Our Sterblue App and 3d automatic navigation software is compatible with the whole DJI product line. Preferably, we are using the DJI Matrice 200 series.
Also, you need to be a licensed drone pilot in the country of your operation.
If you are interested in working with us, please reach out for us here. We are also looking for pilots for our power grids market!