July 2017 – Centrica operation is the UK’s longest commercial drone flight

FlyLogix was contracted by Centrica to enable the oil and gas operator to rapidly verify the status of their DP3 platform.

FlyLogix worked with Centrica, the Civil Aviation Authority and Blackpool Airport to fly the drone from an operational airport to the platform to obtain FLIR imagery following an unplanned shut down at the South Morecambe field.

The operation dramatically reduced the cost of verifying the platform’s operational and safety status, avoiding the expense and complex logistics of mobilising a helicopter, monitoring crew and standby vessel.

FlyLogix reduced the risk to the crew that were ultimately mobilised to the platform and speeded up the restart process, ensuring minimised lost production to Centrica.

This operation also entered the record books as the longest and furthest commercial drone flight in the UK fully sanctioned and approved by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Centrica Morecambe field 365x292

26 July 2017. Telegraph - Flight of the Condor sets commercial drone record

Alan Tovey – an important milestone in the development of commercially-useful drones has been passed with a record breaking beyond-line-of-sight civilian drone flight.

The privately-owned company FlyLogix set a British record after completing a 50-mile offshore round trip. The Condor drone’s flight took off from Blackpool airport over the Irish Sea where it inspected one of Centrica’s unmanned platforms in Morecambe Bay. Infrared sensors mounted on the Condor were used to survey the platform, providing a more efficient and potentially safer way of checking the rig without having to send staff out to sea. Current Civil Aviation Authority rules mean drones have to keep below an altitude of 400 ft and not fly beyond visual sight – generally accepted to be about 1,500 ft. However, special permission was secured from the regulator for the flight of the Condor. It was piloted remotely by an operator on the ground at Blackpool once out of sight.

The flight – which hit a maximum altitude of just 100ft, putting it in the danger area where it had to avoid tall buildings and hills – is seen as a major achievement for drones. It is one of the first times such an aircraft has gone over the horizon to a specific site and carried out a mission, rather than flying a pre-programmed route. FlyLogix, a start-up based in Chichester which has five staff, says the mission was designed to prove capability rather than a commercial deal, though it is hoping to land contracts as a result of the record flight.

Charles Tavner, chairman of FlyLogix, said: “This is a major milestone as we showcase the significant benefits of our long-range offshore drone service, and ultimately demonstrate the future of offshore inspection and logistics. FlyLogix is uniquely placed to deliver this service. We have clearly shown the track record, the technology and industry knowledge to complete these operations and are excited about rolling this service out more widely.”

Drones are seen as a growth area with the global market for flying robots valued at $127bn by PwC. Infrastructure applications are expected to make up more than a third of the total. Survey work for industries such as construction and energy are expected to generate the greatest demand, offering a new point of view from traditional methods involving humans on the ground. Small drones equipped with cameras and flown by pilots within line of sight are already being used worldwide to survey windfarms and bridges.

Other commercial applications include damage assessments in the insurance sector and agriculture, where as well as monitoring the condition of crops, unmanned aircraft are being used to spray fields with pinpoint accuracy where pesticides or treatments are required. Earlier this week the Government said it plans to introduce mandatory registration of drones and safety awareness courses for pilots of those which way more than 250g.

Read the full article here

26 July 2017. Energy Voice. Drone completes record flight during platform inspection

A UK based drone operator has completed the lengthiest civilian drone flight in the UK.

The beyond line of sight flight saw Flylogix’s Condor Drone complete an infrared inspection of the DP3 unmanned platform in the East Irish Sea on behalf of oil and gas operator Centrica. The drone took off from Blackpool Airport and flew the 88km round trip to the installation, which forms part of Centrica’s Morecambe Bay operations.

FlyLogix chairman, Charles Tavner, said: “This is a major milestone for FlyLogix as we showcase the significant benefits of our long range offshore drone service, and ultimately demonstrate the future of offshore inspection and logistics.”

FlyLogix said it had worked in close collaboration with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Centrica, Blackpool Airport and other air space users, to ensure the safety and success of the record operation.

The use of long range drones in the energy industry allows operators to reduce risk to the workforce.

Read the full article here

26 July 2017. Farnborough International - FlyLogix conducts longest civilian drone flight in UK

FlyLogix has announced that is has conducted the longest, beyond line of sight, civilian drone flight in UK.

The flight, conducted on 17th July, saw Flylogix’s Condor Drone complete an inspection of the DP3 unmanned platform on behalf of oil and gas operator Centrica. The drone took off from Blackpool Airport and flew the 88km round trip to the platform in the East Irish Sea, which forms part of Centrica’s Morecambe Bay operations.

FlyLogix worked in close collaboration with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Centrica, Blackpool Airport and other air space users, to ensure the safety and success of the record operation. Condor returned detailed infrared imagery from the flight. The use of long range drones to complete remote offshore inspection provides operators with imagery and data without the cost and risk of mobilising personnel offshore.

FlyLogix Chairman, Charles Tavner, said: “This is a major milestone for FlyLogix as we showcase the significant benefits of our long range offshore drone service, and ultimately demonstrate the future of offshore inspection and logistics.  We are grateful for the support of the CAA, Centrica, Blackpool Airport and other air space users, to ensure the success of this record service.”

He added: “We are extremely excited about rolling this service out more widely.”

Read the full article here

26 July 2017. IFSEC Global - Longest-ever civilian drone flight recorded ‘beyond the line of sight’

FlyLogix, a specialist in long-range drone flights to offshore installations, says it has conducted the farthest, beyond-line-of-sight civilian drone flight ever recorded in the UK.

On 17 July, a Condor Drone took off from Blackpool Airport and managed an 88km round trip to an inspection of an unmanned platform in Morecambe Bay on behalf of oil and gas operator Centrica. The drone relayed detailed infrared imagery from the flight. FlyLogix, a start-up based in Chichester, also collaborated with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Blackpool Airport and other air space users before the trial. The use of drones in remote or dangerous locations negates the costs and risks associated with deploying human personnel into such scenarios instead.

“This is a major milestone for FlyLogix as we showcase the significant benefits of our long range offshore drone service, and ultimately demonstrate the future of offshore inspection and logistics,” said FlyLogix Chairman Charles Tavner.

“We are grateful for the support of the CAA, Centrica, Blackpool Airport and other air space users, to ensure the success of this record service.  FlyLogix is uniquely placed to deliver this service. We have clearly shown the track record, the technology and industry knowledge to complete these operations.  We are extremely excited about rolling this service out more widely, and the future prospects of FlyLogix as the trusted service provider.”

Top priority

Despite rapid advances in drone technology, constraints on flight duration limit the range and scope of applications. Commercial drones can typically fly continuously for only about 25 minutes. Developing batteries that are lighter, higher capacity and less hazardous is a top priority for the industry. There are also restrictions on beyond the line of sight operations, which are banned over populated areas in most developed countries. However, more latitude is given for offshore and other remote deployments.

The UK government has just announced plans to introduce mandatory registration of drones and safety awareness courses for pilots of drones weighing more than 250g.

A 2016 report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers projects that the security drone market will be worth $10.5bn (£8bn) by 2020, surpassed only by infrastructure, agriculture and transport. Our recent Security Drones Report 2017 -(sponsored by Aviat Drones) revealed that 16% percent of respondents – mostly comprising security professionals, heads of security and other senior executives – say they already deploy the technology.

A total of 60% either already use drones or can foresee themselves doing so eventually, with only 16% indicating that they “probably won’t ever need drone technology for any security application”, the other 24% admitting that they don’t know enough about the technology to commit either way.

Read the full article here

25 July 2017. Offshore Oil and Gas Magazine - Drone inspects gas platform in the Irish Sea

CHICHESTER, UK – FlyLogix claims to have achieved the farthest, beyond line of sight civilian drone flight in UK airspace.

During the flight, conducted last week, the company’s Condor Drone undertook an inspection of the DP3 unmanned platform in the East Irish Sea off northwest England for operator Centrica. The drone took off from Blackpool Airport and flew the 88-km (54.6-mi) round trip to the platform, part of Centrica’s Morecambe Bay gas field operations.

FlyLogix collaborated with the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, Centrica, Blackpool Airport and other airspace users to ensure the safety of the operation. Condor returned detailed infra-red imagery from the flight. Use of long range drones for remote offshore inspection, FlyLogix claims, provides high-quality imagery and data without the cost or risk of mobilizing personnel offshore for this task.

Read the full article here

25 July 2017. The Maritime Executive - Drone Completes Over-the-Horizon Platform Inspection

UK-based startup FlyLogix, an operator of inspection drones for the offshore industry, says that it has completed the longest-distance civilian drone flight in Britain – a shore-launched inspection of an unmanned offshore platform. Flylogix’s Condor fixed-wing drone took off at Blackpool and flew a 50 nm round trip to Centrica’s DP3 gas production platform, located in Morecambe Bay in the East Irish Sea. The aircraft obtained infrared imagery of the facility, removing the need to deploy staff.

The time savings will help Centrica, which is prioritizing the refurbishment of its holdings in the Morecambe Bay. The firm recently announced that it is spending $80 million to renovate nearby production platforms DP6 and DP8; the company says that its investments will give it access to an additional three billion cubic feet of natural gas from the formation.

The Telegraph reports that Flylogix had to obtain special permission from Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority to fly the drone beyond visual sight, a practice that is ordinarily prohibited. A human pilot in Blackpool controlled the aircraft’s movements and kept it under a legal flight ceiling of 400 feet.

“This is a major milestone for FlyLogix as we showcase the significant benefits of our long range offshore drone service, and ultimately demonstrate the future of offshore inspection and logistics,” said FlyLogix chairman Charles Tavner. “We are grateful for the support of the CAA, Centrica, Blackpool Airport and other air space users, to ensure the success of this record service.”

Drone inspections are taking off in the offshore industry, as they can shave hundreds of man-hours of labor off of the process of checking for corrosion, cracking and other signs of degradation. Drones are beginning to gain traction in the world of commercial shipping as well, where they are increasingly being used for tank inspections and as an aid for class surveys.

Read the full article here

25 July 2017. Oilfield Technology - FlyLogix drone inspects DP3 platform

By Anna Nicklin. Long range operations specialist using drones for offshore installations, FlyLogix, has conducted the farthest beyond line of sight civilian drone flight in UK.

The flight, which was conducted on 17th July, saw Flylogix’s Condor drone complete an inspection of the DP3 unmanned platform on behalf of oil and gas operator Centrica. The drone took off from Blackpool Airport and flew a 88 km round trip to the platform in the East Irish Sea, which forms part of Centrica’s Morecambe Bay operations. The Condor drone obtained and returned detailed infrared imagery from the flight. The use of long range drones to complete remote offshore inspection provides operators with high quality imagery and data without the cost and risk of mobilising personnel offshore.

Commenting on the record flight, FlyLogix Chairman, Charles Tavner, said: “This is a major milestone for FlyLogix as we showcase the significant benefits of our long range offshore drone service, and ultimately demonstrate the future of offshore inspection and logistics. We are grateful for the support of the CAA, Centrica, Blackpool Airport and other air space users, to ensure the success of this record service. FlyLogix is uniquely placed to deliver this service. We have clearly shown the track record, the technology and industry knowledge to complete these operations. We are extremely excited about rolling this service out more widely, and the future prospects of FlyLogix as the trusted service provider.”

Read the full article here