Canada’s FulcrumAir, which develops heavy-lift unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and aerial robotic devices, has announced it is offering slinging operations to assist in powerline construction and maintenance with its E7500 system. The company said work was recently done with K-Line Line Maintenance and Construction on a 138KV line being reconstructed for one of the leading power providers in Canada.
K-Line worked with FulcrumAir to sling over difficult terrain, cross arms, insulators, tools and other components that weigh up to 120 pounds per trip. Overall, 19 trips were made, and 1,800 lbs of material was slung in six hours of flight time over 16 hours in the field, FulcrumAir said. The work was completed over top of sensitive wetland areas, wildlife habitat and a farmer’s field, which minimized the impact of trucks and other vehicles. With the E7500, the work also eliminated the need for a helicopter.
“Utilizing FulcrumAir’s heavy lift drone allowed us to safely import material and export salvage material efficiently,” said Brian Edall, vice president of business development at K-Line Group of Companies. “Crews were able to navigate the rough terrain and icy slopes safely without having to carry any materials. FulcrumAir’s heavy lift drone allowed us to control the site and employee hazards in a very innovative way.”
FulcrumAir said unmanned aircraft heavy slinging allows for comparable efficiency to traditional helicopter slinging, while significantly reducing the safety risk to crews and workers on the ground. The company said using drones this way for heavy slinging makes things safer, as well as more cost effective and with a lighter footprint than traditional aviation methods.
The work was done in Canada under regulatory approval from Transport Canada, which was first obtained in 2017. The company said it is also working with the FAA on Type Certification in the U.S. to enable Part 133 external load operations, with approvals expected in mid-2023, to enable similar work in the U.S.
For more details on FulcrumAir and its technology, visit its website here.