Miami, Aug 15 The electricity company Florida Power & Light (FPL) presented this Monday, before the weeks of increased cyclone activity, a new state-of-the-art drone designed to penetrate strong tropical storms and facilitate, through real-time information, the restoration of electrical flow after blackouts and damage.
The new fixed-wing drone, called FPAir One and the size of a small plane, is remotely operated and can fly up to 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) “capturing images and recording high-quality video” of the state of FPL’s structures, the company said in a statement.
The small plane has enough flight range to cover twice the length of Florida.
The drone “identifies potential power grid problems before an outage occurs and helps speed restoration after severe weather conditions,” such as a tropical storm hit, he said.
“We’re always looking for new ways to improve our industry-leading reliability and improve the way we serve more than 12 million people every day,” said FPL President Eric Silagy.
Silagy explained that, thanks to this drone, the Florida power company will be able to “quickly observe the infrastructure in our service area, which extends over more than half of the state,” which will result in “a great benefit for our customers.”
FPLAir’s command center is located in the city of West Palm Beach, north of Miami.
Trained pilots from the FPLAir Mobile Command Center and the company’s Distribution Control Center in West Palm Beach remotely operate FPLAir One.
The drone can fly in the face of tropical storm-force winds in advance of FPL workers so they “can safely begin to restore power” after a storm passes.
This drone is designed to “collect information in real time and identify the causes of power outages”, which “allows the movement of the right crews and equipment to the right place” and “accelerate restoration efforts” of the electrical system. .
The importance of obtaining aerial images as quickly as possible became clear 30 years ago, when Hurricane Andrew, a category 5 hurricane, destroyed much of the power grid along with thousands of homes in a wide swath of Miami County. Dade.
Helicopters were then unable to fly until the wind died down, so the extent of the devastation was slow to be known.
This August marks the 30th anniversary of Andrew, known as “The Big One”, who with gusts of wind of more than 260 kilometers per hour left in 1992 as he passed through Miami-Dade County, in South Florida, a horrifying landscape of destruction and death. EFE