Elia tests first drone for long-distance flight
On 6 March 2018, a Delair fixed-wing drone successfully completed a demonstration flight along a 70kV high-voltage line in Sint-Truiden. The unmanned aerial vehicle took off from Droneport, an incubator for drones, and completed a 10 km flight lasting 30 minutes.
The system operator wants to deploy drones to inspect Belgium's high-voltage grid, which comprises more than 5,700 km of high-voltage overhead lines. Drones can help to perform daily visual checks and assess for damage in the event of power outages.
At the moment, only drone flights within the field of vision are permitted. The aim of this test flight was to demonstrate that long-distance flights can be conducted safely.