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Tennessee Drone Services

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I had a request for bid come in yesterday for inspecting the inside of an inground holding tank. Have any of you ever been asked to inspect the inside of a 1,500 gallon holding tank buried in the ground?

I assume that if I stand over the opening I should be able to maintain connection, but I'm not sure about that. If I use a Phantom 4 pro and have some lights on the drone, I believe I should be able to use the sensors to avoid the walls as I'm pretty sure gps in there would be spotty at best. Couple that with prop guards and I think it might just go okay.

I did do a bit of looking for a carbon fiber cage, but couldn't get anything to turn up except for this post: full exterior crash cage for phantom and the elios drone, which I think would be perfect for this job, but I don't know if the ROI would justify the purchase. Elios - Inspect & Explore Indoor and Confined Spaces — Flyability

Anyone else out there doing these inspections?
 

The Editor

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I had a request for bid come in yesterday for inspecting the inside of an inground holding tank. Have any of you ever been asked to inspect the inside of a 1,500 gallon holding tank buried in the ground?

I assume that if I stand over the opening I should be able to maintain connection, but I'm not sure about that. If I use a Phantom 4 pro and have some lights on the drone, I believe I should be able to use the sensors to avoid the walls as I'm pretty sure gps in there would be spotty at best. Couple that with prop guards and I think it might just go okay.

I did do a bit of looking for a carbon fiber cage, but couldn't get anything to turn up except for this post: full exterior crash cage for phantom and the elios drone, which I think would be perfect for this job, but I don't know if the ROI would justify the purchase. Elios - Inspect & Explore Indoor and Confined Spaces — Flyability

Anyone else out there doing these inspections?
If the holding tank is metal your biggest challenge will be compass errors which if large enough may prevent you from even taking off.
 

Tennessee Drone Services

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Tha
If the holding tank is metal your biggest challenge will be compass errors which if large enough may prevent you from even taking off.

Thanks for that. It is plastic, I wouldn't want to risk it in metal.

I had a compass error one time flying in a heavily tree covered area filming a waterfall scene at a state park... The drone started drifting and I had to land or else risk losing it. After rebooting, it worked fine. Not sure what happened there.
 

jwaitkus

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Are you sure it's 1500 gallons? I used to have a 2000 gallon tight tank at my house and it 6' wide by 12' long and 4' high. I wouldn't try flying in a dark box that size.
 

Tennessee Drone Services

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I'm not sure if that's correct or not, but that's the number they gave me. I did ask them for rough measurements, especially the opening. It's a holding tank used by the National Park Service.
 

QuadKid

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I wouldn't recommend it, that doesn't seem to be a large tank, probably be better of with a different video/photo device like a snake cam or something.
 

Tennessee Drone Services

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Thanks! I have one of those I bought several years back for my pipes. Taped it to a snake and had a 25 foot long camera with lights that gave a live feed when hooked up to a laptop.
 

Tennessee Drone Services

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Not sure what they hold in it, but I don't think a remote control car would work for anything more than the floor and the walls you can get close to... And I would doubt it would be fully drained. Thanks for the suggestion though.
 
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ArrUnTuS

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Those 1,500 gallons have been passed to liters, which I understand better, and I think it's too small to put a drone inside :rolleyes:

Anyway, in order to avoid GPS reception problems and so activate the failsafes that probably cause the drone to crash against the top of the tank... I would fly manually and forget about GPS mode. Bearing in mind that you won't have any wind in the interior, you won't have too many problems in controlling the aircraft, as long as you have room for manoeuvre due to the size of the flight area, of course.....
 

ArrUnTuS

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Another thing to keep in mind is the size of the tank entrance, and where the pilot is going to put himself.

The drone's gonna fly in through the entrance? Is it going to take off from the inside?

Will the pilot be inside? He's gonna be lying in the hallway pulling half his body inward?

Many doubts arise o_O
 

OnTheRopes

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I think your numbers must be wrong, I have a 2500 gallon oil tank in my garden and it is about 9 feet by 5 feet at the most. If it really is that small just use a camera on an inverted monopod or tape one to a longer pole with a video light or something like that.
 

Tennessee Drone Services

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Those were the numbers I got from the ranger. He never sent a photo like requested and hasn't been back in touh since the gov. shut down.
 

LUIS MARTINEZ

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I had a request for bid come in yesterday for inspecting the inside of an inground holding tank. Have any of you ever been asked to inspect the inside of a 1,500 gallon holding tank buried in the ground?

I assume that if I stand over the opening I should be able to maintain connection, but I'm not sure about that. If I use a Phantom 4 pro and have some lights on the drone, I believe I should be able to use the sensors to avoid the walls as I'm pretty sure gps in there would be spotty at best. Couple that with prop guards and I think it might just go okay.

I did do a bit of looking for a carbon fiber cage, but couldn't get anything to turn up except for this post: full exterior crash cage for phantom and the elios drone, which I think would be perfect for this job, but I don't know if the ROI would justify the purchase. Elios - Inspect & Explore Indoor and Confined Spaces — Flyability

Anyone else out there doing these inspections?
Not worth whatever the NPS will pay. Sounds too risky, too confined and not a job for an aerial platform. Gotta weigh profit v. potential loss.
 

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