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  • Writer's pictureHammer Missions

Wind Turbine Inspections using Hammer Missions on Android

Updated: Dec 15, 2023



Overview

Hammer Missions is a drone flight planning and 3D mapping software platform designed for the commercial drone industry. We support a large number of mission types on both mobile tablets through Hammer App and web-based environments through Hammer Hub.


Whatever the mission, Hammer Missions can adapt to it and help you capture & process the best possible data.

Tutorial


In this tutorial, we will focus on wind turbine inspections, one of the many different inspection missions supported by Hammer Missions.


Blade Inspection & Modelling


This type of inspection is useful for aligning your drone directly in front of the turbine blades for closer inspection and analysis using a visual or thermal camera.


In this mission, Hammer generates a flight plan based on key GPS points input by the pilot. Hammer uses the input GPS points to create a single smooth trajectory, maintains the drone orientation and gimbal pitch as input by the pilot and takes photos at the set distance interval.


To ensure maximum safety, it's important that the key GPS points are input by the pilot by first flying and positioning drone manually.
Please note this inspection method is only applicable for turbines with blades at the 12 o'clock position. For turbines at other positions, please use our other missions.

In the figure below - Points A, B, represent key GPS points.




Please watch the video below to understand the key GPS points that need to be manually marked.




Steps to Create a Mission


  • Connect the drone to the Hammer App

  • Tap on the new mission file icon to create a new mission file.

  • Open the mission file and tap on the add (+) button in the top right corner of the side panel. Highlighted here in red'

  • Choose 'Turbine Inspection' from the available missions.

  • You will be notified you must capture the first point of the blade.

  • Fly the drone to the 'first key GPS point' of the wind turbine. Ensure the drone's orientation is such that the blade parallel to the drone's camera. Tap on the back right c2 button on your controller to input this position.


What the blade should look like in the drone's camera view
Key GPS Point 1: What the blade should look like in the drone's camera view

  • Then fly the drone to the 'second key GPS' point of the flight plan. Ensure the drone's gimbal pitch is looking down and the drone orientation is such that the blade is perpendicular to the drone's camera. Tap on the back right c2 button of the controller to input this position.


Key GPS Point 2: What the blade should look like in the drone's camera view
Key GPS Point 2: What the blade should look like in the drone's camera view

Once you have successfully marked both points, the Hammer App will generate a default flight plan for you. If this is your first flight, we recommend landing the drone and fine turning the settings.


Fine Tuning Your Mission

  • Tap on the white gear icon on the generated mission.

  • This will open a settings menu.



Configuring the wind turbine inspection mission


The settings are as follows:


Camera Type: This is the camera you are flying with. It's important to set the right camera for correct image overlap calculations.


Blade: Bottom Position: This is the first Key GPS point that was marked manually by looking forwards. You can edit it and fly again to the point and mark it again if needed for better precision.

Blade: Top Position: This is the second Key GPS point that was marked manually by looking downwards. You can edit it and fly again to the point and mark it again if needed for better precision.


Flight Mode: Inspection or Modelling. In the inspection mode, the drone will fly and capture all 4 sides of the blade based on the set overlap. In the mapping mode, the drone will fly and capture concentric circles around the blade for 3D modelling.


Wind Turbine - Inspection Mode
Inspection Mode
Wind Turbine Mapping Mode
Mapping Mode

Distance to Blade: The distance (in metres) between blade and the flight path.


Gimbal Tilt: The pitch of the gimbal. We recommend keeping this at 0 degrees to look straight forward all the time.


Flight Speed: This let you configure the drone's flight speed. We recommend keeping this value low enough to not miss photos and high enough to have an efficient flight.


Once you've configured the mission settings, you can then configure the drone settings, such as the drone speed and the Go Home Height (higher than the turbine height!)

Steps to Simulate & Practice


We recognise that flying an automated wind turbine inspection can take some practice. We recommend trying out this mission in an open field with an imaginary turbine or a tall tower first to understand how the software works before flying on an actual turbine.


If you are an advanced DJI pilot, you can also try simulating the mission indoors using our DJI simulation guide.


Steps to Fly


  1. Once you are happy with the created mission

  2. Press Play to start the mission.

  3. Press the red Stop anytime to pause the mission, and Play to resume the mission.

Here's what the flight will look like on the map screen:




Post Processing


Once you've collected the data, we recommend using Hammer Hub to sift through the images and annotate your findings. This data can also be shared with your client or stakeholder, please see or post Sharing Your Data Projects in Hammer Missions for further information. Alternatively, you can run your data through AI-based defect detection software to speed up your analysis process.



We recommend using Hammer Hub to sift through the images and annotate your findings

If you'd like to learn more about data processing options, please feel free to get in touch with us at team@hammermissions.com.



Summary


And that is how you Inspect Wind Turbines with Hammer Missions


We hope this post was helpful in learning how to use Hammer App for Wind Turbine Inspection. If you haven't got a Hammer account as of yet and would like to try Hammer, you can get started on our free trial.


To learn more about our enterprise solutions, including mission collaboration, data processing and AI solutions, please contact us at team@hammermissions.com.


We look forward to hearing from you.


- Team at Hammer Missions







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