Ohio-based Tremco Roofing & Building Maintenance announced that its SkyBEAM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has completed the first Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved night flight, to inspect rooftops at a southern Ohio business. More than 2.3 million square feet of roofing were scanned during the mission.
The FAA granted approval to SkyBEAM for the first nighttime commercial drone operation in the U.S. in April of this year; the drone is also approved for daytime operations.
Tremco’s SkyBEAM (Building Envelope Asset Mapping) drone, developed in partnership with Toronto-based Industrial SkyWorks (ISW) features a thermographic (infrared) camera, which is most effective at identifying temperature variations during night flight when the sun is not warming the building. Temperature variations can indicate problems, such as hard-to-find leaks and roof system deficiencies. ISW has been using the SkyBEAM in Canada for the last 12 months.
The application provides a dramatic example of drones performing a task at a fraction of the time and cost. “Prior to SkyBEAM, conducting an inspection of this size would typically need eight to 10 nights and would require survey team technicians to traverse rooftops,” says the Tremco announcement. “Scanning during the historic flight took approximately three-and-a-half hours and did not require anyone on the roof at night.” The SkyBEAM’s cameras can also detect façade issues such as tiny gaps and cracks, and deteriorating concrete, that would otherwise require scaffolding or cranes to locate.
“SkyBEAM is faster and safer than conventional methods of mapping buildings, in addition to being extremely accurate. It’s also very cost-effective for larger buildings or multi-building campuses,” said Robb Chauvin, Executive Director of Inspection Services for Tremco Roofing in a statement. “This inaugural nighttime flight signifies a great advancement in the roofing and building maintenance industry. We look forward to working with our industry partners and clients, to continue to improve the building inspection process.”