FAA Approves Test of Drone Power Line Exams

n500VDAs reported by ABC 10 News, the FAA has approved San Diego Gas & Electric’s test program for the examination of rural power transmission lines with drone-mounted HD cameras. The first utility to receive such approval, SDGE is flying quadcotpers that are 16-inched in diameter and weigh less than a pound if four rural test sites 70 miles east of San Diego in the McCain, Valley. The drones replace manned helicopter inspections that cost nearly as much per per flight hour as the drone system’s total cost. In addition, said the report, the drone’s can fly when the helicopters can’t, which will allows the utility to monitor its lines when they are threatened by wildfires.