Aerial Pipeline Inspections

Helicopters Make Regular Inspections a Breeze.

Pipeline Inspections across the United States

Given the extension of natural gas and petroleum pipelines, aerial helicopter patrols are the most effective way to carry out pipeline inspections. Covering thousands of miles from the air proves much more efficient and cost effective than ground surveys. In fact, helicopter pipeline patrols have the advantage of being able to survey a number of different pipelines in a single day, reducing the overall costs of insurance, maintenance and ground support.

Employing a fleet of patrol helicopters, pipeline inspections can be executed close to the ground, using laser detection and ranging optical remote sensing technology, which detect pipeline leaks and provide digital survey images. The United States, which has approximately 2.6 million miles of natural gas and petroleum pipelines, delivers trillions of cubic feet of natural gas and billions of tons of petroleum products each year. In 2018, an estimated 4,600 miles of new interstate pipelines are expected to be installed. These require a Right-of-Way from private and public landowners. These planned pipelines require helicopter patrols to document the evolution of the projects through detailed aerial imaging.

Routine pipeline inspections are required by The Department of Transportation. Leaks, which can be detected through evidence of dead vegetation or bubbling, are best identified from the air since pipelines are often located on rugged terrain, making road inspection not only labor intensive but also dangerous. Using video or still cameras, helicopter patrols can safely inspect lines at low altitudes as well as hover over problem areas, allowing inspectors to capture high-resolution images.

Benefits of choosing Aerial Pipeline Inspection Services

Pipeline patrol pilots are trained to detect anomalies along the pipelines and can deliver GPS-encoded images that can be immediately analyzed, enabling pipeline technicians to be promptly dispatched. Pipeline inspections are usually carried out by a trained pilot and an observer who will scan the area for the following:

  • Ditch settlements

  • Encroachments

  • Erosion abnormalities

  • Exposed pipes

  • Missing signs and markers

  • Slope stability abnormalities

  • Spills and leaks

  • Third party activity

  • Vegetation abnormalities

Pipeline Inspections

Pipeline Inspections
  • Ditch settlements

  • Encroachments

  • Erosion abnormalities

  • Exposed pipes

  • Missing signs and markers

  • Slope stability abnormalities

  • Spills and leaks

  • Third party activity

  • Vegetation abnormalities

Helicopter pipeline patrols are equipped with high-resolution infrared cameras that capture encoded thermal video and still images. Thermal imaging detection can identify minute changes in surface temperatures that may indicate an underground leak. Helicopters are also outfitted with laser gas leak detection systems that sample the air to identify methane concentrations. If these concentrations exceed a fixed set point, the crew will be alerted via an audio and visual alarm of the anomaly, enabling them to further investigate and report their findings.

Other capabilities of helicopter pipeline patrols include the ability to fly safely 300-500 feet above trees and power lines, transmission of laser beams from the helicopter to illuminate the area above and around the buried pipe, and detection of leaks down to 5 ppm.

Aerial Pipeline Surveys Save Time, Money, and Prevent Costly Repairs,

call 1-800-318-8940 for an accurate inspection.

Aerial Pipeline Patrol Helicopters

To carry out these surveys, the aircraft used includes the Bell 206B helicopter, a two-bladed, single- or twin-engine helicopter, which provides primary visual inspection, personnel transport, maintenance budgeting and right-of-way video, as well as emergency response and equipment transport services. The Schweizer 300 CBI, a single, three-bladed main rotor and piston-powered light utility helicopter, which provides superior visibility and slower patrol speed, is also used to conduct pipeline inspections.

The aerial pipeline patrol services that helicopters can provide include the following:

  • Anomaly Surveys
  • Construction Tours
  • Emergency Evacuations
  • Environmental Agency Visits
  • Flights to Construction Sites
  • Foreign Line Obstructions
  • Heavy Equipment Inventory
Pipeline Inspections
  • Land Management
  • Leak Detections
  • Pipeline Break Positions
  • Pre-Construction Surveys
  • Remote Location Transport
  • Right Of Way Surveys
  • Surveys of Pipeline Construction
  • Anomaly Surveys
  • Construction Tours
  • Emergency Evacuations
  • Environmental Agency Visits
  • Flights to Construction Sites
  • Foreign Line Obstructions
  • Heavy Equipment Inventory
Pipeline Inspections
  • Land Management
  • Leak Detections
  • Pipeline Break Positions
  • Pre-Construction Surveys
  • Remote Location Transport
  • Right Of Way Surveys
  • Surveys of Pipeline Construction

Given that loss of pipeline product through unidentified leaks results in profit losses in excess of 15% per year, aerial pipeline inspections are not only a safety issue but also an important loss prevention tool. Also, the ability to measure greenhouse gases in the environment has become increasingly relevant as the world combats climate change.

In conclusion, helicopter pipeline inspections are the fastest and most dependable way to monitor oil and gas pipelines. Advanced imaging technology allows experts to quickly and efficiently respond to leaks without road, impenetrable terrain or property line restrictions in order to minimize the environmental impact of pipeline anomalies and ensure proper service to consumers.

Call 1-800-318-8940 for recurrent pipeline patrols!