Wind Turbine Blade Inspections by UAV

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Wind Turbine Blade Inspections by UAV

Recon Industrial offers enterprise drone inspection solutions for Turbine Manufacturers, Wind Farm Owners/Operators and O&M Specialists looking to reduce risk, resolve underperformance issues and potentially prevent expensive blade failures and significant downtime events.

wind turbine inspection from the back using a drone_800


Documented Visual Records & Artificially Intelligent Driven Inspection Reports


Routine visual inspections are the foundation of an effective and timely maintenance schedule. Wind turbine blade inspections by UAV allow for rapid deployment with near realtime results. Inspections by UAV allow wind operators to have answers faster, save time, save money and target blade defects earlier, when the severity classification is realtively low.

Documented inspections  also provide a vital chain of custody to support, prevent or resolve end of contract warranty disputes and/or legitimize insurance claims.

Wind Turbine Blade Inspections by UAV Save Money and Reduce Risk

By The Numbers – Reduce Inspection & Down Time

rope inspection vs uav inspection for turbines copyLet’s assume that it takes 1 day to fully inspect a turbine using traditional rope methods and the cost for this is $3000.00 per turbine.

Using rope methods the total inspection cost for each turbine is approximately $3500.00.  We have added to the base rope inspection cost the downtime costs (8hrs, $0.10 per KWH, a consistent capacity factor of 27%, and a nameplate capacity of 1500 KWH).

The cost for a complete UAV inspection of the same wind turbine using Artificially Intelligent (AI) software for defect recognition is approximately $750. In addition, the UAV wind turbine blade inspection takes a maximum of 45 minutes, not an entire day and additionally does not tie up in-field WT operator resources.


The math is clear, it costs nearly 5x less on a per turbine basis to conduct an inspection using a UAV in comparison to traditional rope methods.

Let’s say that another way, you can inspect 100 turbines instead of 20 for the same cost and significantly reduce the risk of a critical fault causing significant damage and amalgamate crucial preventative maintenance data.

Turn-Key, Annualized Wind Turbine Blade Inspections by UAV

Loss Prevention

Ultimately our goal is to identify wind turbine blade damage that can lead to expensive failures and to identify less critical but important issues that degrade performance. The data we provide is used by manufacturers, owners/operators and O&M specialists to make effective engineering repair recommendations but it is also used to provide baseline data to track blade status and wear progression.

In addition, asset managers are able to make better, more strategic contracting decisions for maintenance and repair that reduce follow-up repair costs and additional manual inspections; better information provides a more streamlined, targetted approach. lightningdamage_on_blade_tip_UAV_inspection


Built-In Capacity

Recon Aerial Media is currently under subcontract to Siemens for wind turbine blade inspections throughout Canada. This massive undertaking will see us conduct up to 12000 blade inspections on over 1000+ wind turbines each year. This collective intelligence perfectly positions Recon to serve manufacturer’s owner/operators and O&M specialists alike throughout the wind industry across Canada and beyond. Recon has the know-how, work procedures, and technical capacity to deliver loss prevention data that offers immense value.

Combining immense boots on the ground operational experience with the data from 1000’s of blade inspections we can easily highlight delamination and other types of repairs such as leading edge erosion and tip repairs. We can also easily classify lightning strikes, bird strikes and other classification of damages that lead to underperformance and potentially blade failure. 


Leading Edge

Recon Aerial Media is has a great working relationship with a premier software company who has developed AI software specifically for defect recognition in wind turbine blades. We integrate AI software to provide incredibly fast and actionable data, complete with sharable site reports.  We are also constantly refreshing our knowledge base with respect to software and sensor technology that can add further value to our client’s operations and can now offer autonomous blade inspections.


Comprehensive Solution

We are partnering with industry-leading O&M specialists with years of experience who interpret the data we collect and provide our clients with options. We are not experts in engineered solutions related to advanced blade repair but our partners are and can provide advanced blade inspection and repair services. Our partners will review the inspection data with owners to establish a specific plan to remedy problems that will maximize loss prevention, solve performance issues and minimize downtime.

Turbine Blade Inspection Service Agreements


Complete Inspection Management


Visual Media Only

Visual Media Only

Annual Service Agreement
  • 1 Annual Inspections of All Assets
  • Pre-mission Compliance Review
  • Risk Analysis and Control Measures
  • Site Survey & Flight Plans
  • Regulatory Approval for UAV Operations
  • Air Authority Airspace Deconfliction
  • Drone Liability Insurance
  • Full Blade Surface Inspection
  • Full License for all Media

What is the annualized cost for UAV Turbine Blade Inspections?

We are glad you asked! Use the basic estimation tool below to estimate the costs for either a complete WTI service agreement or the paired down WTI data only service agreement.

Wind Turbine Inspection Calculator