Thermal Imaging

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Introduction to Helicopter Thermal Imaging


The translation of heat, or thermal energy, into visible light forms used to analyze objects or environments is called thermography. In helicopter thermal imaging, a camera is used to measure that translation in real time from the air. Helicopter thermal imaging is used by firefighters, utility companies, and rescue operators, to name a few.

Not every use of thermal imaging is going to make news headlines. Aerial thermography is used in day-to-day tasks across a broad range of applications. It provides the user with a fast and wide overview of a particular area, detects energy losses in buildings, and provides high geometrical resolution allowing the recognition of tiny objects from a high altitude. Infrared camera systems in use today integrate visual images with GPS data and offer low smearing and high resolution.

Aircraft Used for Aerial Thermography


Certain helicopters are specially suited for helicopter thermal imaging. The C-GRUV BELL 205 and C-FPSZ BELL 205 both feature enhanced performance thanks to a BLR Fastfin & Strake. Because of its unique hovering ability and agility, the BELL 205 is most often used for firefighting or search and rescue.

The Bell 407 is another good example that can be equipped with a data-link antenna and associated hardware so the user can stream live video to personnel on the ground in real time. This data capability, along with reliability and speed, make the Bell 407 one of the most often used choppers in aerial firefighting as well.

You will find the C-GLFT BELL 212 HP/BLR helicopter being used for monitoring animals in the wild. Helicopter thermal imaging provides information about animals and their environment without disrupting habitat the way surveying from the ground would. As an example, oil and gas exploration companies in Alaska and the Arctic region employ the Bell 212 thermal imaging helicopter to locate polar bears so their dens can be avoided during the exploration and drilling process.

Helicopter Thermal Imaging -  Helicopter with Thermal Imaging Equipment

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Why Helicopter Thermal Imaging?


Firefighting


You have probably heard the term “hot spots.” In helicopter thermal imaging, the term refers to areas that continue to smolder after a fire is put out. These smoldering patches are in danger of erupting into another full-blown blaze. Helicopter thermal imaging is used to isolate these areas so that firefighters can treat them.

Helicopters equipped with thermal cameras are also used for locating fire victims within a structure or in a forest. Once a victim is identified according to their thermal signature, firefighters can direct their actions to where they are most needed and save lives.

Solar Panel Inspections


Manual solar panel inspections are cumbersome and time consuming, not to mention expensive. Helicopter thermal imaging saves time, effort and money since an entire field of solar panels can be checked quickly for problem areas. Huge amounts of potential energy can be lost due to defective solar panels but the problem is quickly rectified when a helicopter can simply fly over the area and assess the health of the panels using helicopter thermal imaging.

Power Line Inspections


Another use of aerial thermal imaging is avoiding fires that could ignite due to failures in power lines. Weak areas in the distribution and transmission network can be easily found. This task is complex, however, when done manually because the network is a complicated system of interconnecting electric energy lines.

Building and Roof Inspections


It is obvious why helicopter thermal imaging is used in roofing inspections. There is simply no better way to quickly assess the integrity of a structure and take note of any heat loss than through airborne thermal imaging. Areas where there may be excess heat or heat escaping can be quickly pinpointed.


Using Aerial Thermal Imaging Services


Using helicopter thermal imaging can save you valuable time and money. There is simply no better way to conduct inspections of fragile roofing or complex utility systems, locate victims and hot spots in the event of a fire, or perform any survey or audit without disruption to the surrounding habitat.

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