surveying planes take flight over Hinkley Point
might look like something out of a sci-fi movie, but this hi-tech
unmanned aeroplane is currently being used for aerial surveying
work at Hinkley Point near Burnham-On-Sea.
Energy has begun preliminary ground works for its proposed Hinkley
C station and the firm is using the fixed-wing planes with built-in
digital cameras and autopilot systems to take measurements and
monitor progress against its plans.
craft flies over the 150-hectare site each week, taking hundreds
of photos. It is operated and monitored on the ground using a
spokesman Gordon Bell said this week: "Compared with a traditional
land surveyor equipped with a GPS antenna, the UAS system can
cover 1.2 sq km in one flight and produce a points cloud composed
of millions of points, where a land surveyor can take only hundreds
of points at the most per day."
craft, from Belgium firm Gatewing, is under the watch of a member
of the EDF Energy Construction Team and a qualified Pilot.
such an innovation in the nuclear industry required a robust safety
case and approval from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
200 companies and organisations across the UK have been granted
permission to use 'small unmanned aerial vehicles' (UAVs) in British
airspace, ranging from big corporations such as National Grid
to rescue services and aerial photography firms.