Posts Tagged ‘drones’

EBT Uses Drone to Inspect Tunnels

May 27, 2022

East Broad Top Railroad officials this week used used a drone to inspect and document the condition of two tunnels.

Trains magazine reported on its website that the drone flew into Ray’s Hill and Sideling Hill tunnels, both located on the southern end of the railroad.

The drones were used because previous collapses in both tunnels led officials to conclude that exploring them in person was too risky.

Instead the drone was used to digitally map and video-record the condition of each tunnel.

This included documenting earthen collapses, rockfalls, shifted strata and sources of underground water seepage.

The 830-foot-long Sideling Hill Tunnel contains a curve whereas the 1,100-foot-long Ray’s Hill Tunnel is on straight track.

More information, including photographs, of the work can be found at

FAA Modifies Rules for Drone Use

December 31, 2020

Unmanned drones will need remote identification under a rule announced by the Federal Aviation Administration.

In a news release, the FAA said the rules address safety, security and privacy concerns while advancing opportunities for the use of drone technology.

The rules will become effective 60 days after being published in the Federal Register.

There are more than 1.7 million drones registered with the FAA and 203,000 FAA-certified remote pilots.

The railroad industry has tested or uses drones for such things as track and bridge inspections.

Remote ID are used to identify drones in flight as well as the location of their control stations.

That information can be used by national security, law enforcement and other public safety officials.

The FAA said equipping drones with remote ID technology builds on the earlier steps taken by the agency and drone technology developers to integrate the use of drones into the national airspace system.

Under existing federal regulations, drones cannot be operated at night over people without an FAA waiver.

The FAA has proposed allowing small drone operators to have their remote pilot certificate and identification in their physical possession when operating and ready to present to authorities if needed.

The rule also will expand the class of authorities who may request these forms from a remote pilot, FAA officials said.

FAA Proposes That Drones Have ID System

December 31, 2019

The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed that unmanned aircraft, including drones, have a remote identification system so that law enforcement and federal security agencies can identify them while they are flying in their jurisdiction.

Drones would be required to have the ability to transmit identification and location information to other airspace users and people on the ground.

The rule would apply to all drones that are required to be registered with the FAA, which includes those used by railroads to inspect their infrastructure.

In a news release, the FAA said it proposed the rule due to an increase in the number of drone operations.

This has given rise to the need to provide additional situational awareness to manned and unmanned aircraft, FAA officials said.

The FAA expects the remote identification network to form the foundation for the development of other technologies that can enable expanded operations, like those over people or beyond visual line of sight.

The network will also allow the FAA and drone industry to move toward a traffic management ecosystem.

The proposed rule is expected to be published on Dec. 31 in the Federal Register which will trigger a 60-day public comment period.

Turnpike to Inspect Bridge with Drone

August 17, 2016

The Ohio Turnpike will use a drone to inspect a bridge over the Sandusky River in mid-September.

Ohio turnpikeIt will be the first use of a drone to inspect a Turnpike bridge and is being done in part due to the size of the bridge and the difficulty of inspecting it by hand. The bridge measures 970 feet  in length by 102 feet in width.

Turnpike Executive Director Randy Cole said he became determined to use a drone for bridge inspection after seeing inspectors dangling from snooper trucks while examining the Turnpike bridge over the Cuyahoga River Valley. A snooper truck has a bucket attached to an arm that extends under a bridge.

“We hope to determine if the use of a drone may reduce the time and expense and increase safety when performing these types of inspections on the turnpike and on the ODOT system,” Cole said.

Results of the drone inspections will be compared with those done by conventional means.

“It’s safer for our motorists. It’s safer for the people doing it. What we want to validate is that the data is as good or better than we would get by human visual inspection,” Cole said.

Cole noted that when snooper trucks are inspecting a bridge some traffic lanes are closed and a work zone is established. Use of a drone will eliminate the need to close lanes and establish a work zone.

Cole also raised the possibility of using drones to inspect accidents, particularly in instances in which traffic backups make it difficult for first responders to reach the scene and when hazardous materials are involved.

Feds Want Drone Owners to Register Their Craft

October 21, 2015

A drone hovers over Nickel Plate Road No. 765 in Ashtabula last July.

A drone hovers over Nickel Plate Road No. 765 in Ashtabula last July.

The federal government wants to require drone users to register their aircraft.

“The signal we’re sending today is that when you’re in the national airspace, it’s a very serious matter,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Although details of the registration have yet to be worked out, DOT said the purpose of registration is an effort to track rogue drones that officials say could threat aircraft safety.DOT hopes to have a registration system in place within two months.

An estimated 700,000 drones are expected to be purchased this year by hobbyists, a 63 percent over 2014 sales.

Commercial and other pilots are reporting about 100 sightings or close calls with drones per month, officials said.

Federal Aviation Administration regulations limit drones to a maximum altitude of 400 feet and no closer than five miles of an airport.

Exceptions can be made to these rules with permission, but officials say the rules are being widely flouted.

Most drones are too small to appear on air traffic control radar screens and do not carry transponders such as those used by commercial and general aviation aircraft that are used to identify them on radar.

Thus registration will be of little use to identify the owners or operators of drones unless one crashes or is confiscated by law enforcement officials.

Government officials hope that a registration system will prompt motivate operators to fly safely by prompting them to think about how they could be held accountable in the event of an accident.

Regulators expect that drone owners would need to confirm that they are familiar with safety regulations for drone operation.