Test program AirDetec between Eisenach and Gospenroda: STEGAL gas pipeline to be flown over and surveyed by a drone

Gas pipelines have to be surveyed and flown over regularly / In this test, this will be carried out from November by a drone as well

Eisenach/Gospenroda/Kassel. Part of the STEGAL (Saxony-Thuringia Natural Gas Pipeline) runs between Eisenach and Gospenroda. Gas pipelines are flown over regularly to detect unauthorized construction work or changes to the topography. In the past, STEGAL was flown over by helicopter. Within the test program “AirDetec”, this will now be carried out additionally by a drone. 

Project manager Thomas Serr describes the advantages of the test program as follows: “A drone offers a number of advantages over a helicopter. It is much quieter and has no CO2 emissions. Due to its compact size, it is also less conspicuous than a helicopter.”

Test flights are expected to take place on the section from Eisenach to Gospenroda as of calendar week 45 (starting on 8 November 2021). They are, however, dependent on the weather. The drone will fly at a height of around 50 meters. “From our experience, the drone will not be heard from the ground during the flight,” Serr explains.

The drone used measures around 120 centimeters in diameter and has numerous safety systems. It is visible for other flying objects via a transponder and uses obstacle detection to actively avoid other aircraft or birds. All steering systems are duplicated to ensure that there is a fallback system. Controlled landing points have been predefined for adverse conditions.

The devices used will record changes on the route through construction sites and topographical changes. “We spent a long time on preparing this program. If AirDetec stands the test, as we expect it to, we aim to expand this eco-friendly flyover to other sections of STEGAL,” explains project manager Thomas Serr.