Fixed-wing storm drone costs a cool $1.2 million says Florida Power & Light

The newest tool in Florida Power & Light‘s storm-ready toolbox is a storm drone that has a wingspan that is slightly greater than that of a Cessna. This fixed-wing drone has the ability to fly for 1,000 miles at a time and will cost the utility’s customers an astounding $1.2 million.

The utility company thinks that by using this fixed-wing drone, known as FPLAir One, to examine storm damage throughout the state of Florida, they would be able to simplify restoration work and bring electricity back on after an outage more quickly.

Without this storm drone, FPL employees would have to examine damage from bucket trucks or by utilizing smaller drones to gain a birds-eye perspective. The FPLAir One sports the company’s colors blue, green, and orange, and weighs up to 1,800 pounds.

Both approaches suffer from limitations. In the first place, it is not possible to carry out the inspection task remotely. Secondly, it is not possible to carry out this surveillance in a secure manner when the wind speed is more than 35 miles per hour.

Florida Power &Amp; Light'S Fixed-Wing Storm Drone Costs A Cool $1.2 Million

Fixed-wing storm drone helps to restore power faster

FPL spokesman Marshall Hastings reportedly said, “because it (FPLAir One) can fly in tropical storm-force winds, we can get out sooner than we could before.”

In addition to this, FPL is able to deploy the drone throughout the state to have a better idea of the work that has to be done before sending a crew in to do the required repairs.

According to the utility company, after FPLAir One completes its first flight, which is scheduled to take place in August, the aircraft will make history by being the first large-scale drone to be flown for commercial use outside of test areas controlled by the Federal Aviation Administration.

FPL showcased the fixed-wing storm drone during the annual storm drill in Riviera Beach. During the course of this week-long exercise, FPL workers put their preparedness to the test by responding to a fictitious hurricane by the name of Hurricane Constantine, which had a category rating of 3.

Florida Power &Amp; Light'S Fixed-Wing Storm Drone Costs A Cool $1.2 Million
Employees of the utility company Power & Light during a recent hurricane drill in Riviera Beach Florida.

“A Cat 5 storm would cause significant devastation not only to the electrical infrastructure but to our communities,” Manny Miranda, an Executive VP for FPL said. “We’re going to see damaged homes, damaged businesses, so it will have a huge economic impact. But we would be much better prepared than we were during Hurricane Andrew.”

Florida Power &Amp; Light'S Fixed-Wing Storm Drone Costs A Cool $1.2 Million
FPL Executive VP Manny Miranda shares his experience when he was working for the utility company during Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Fixed-Wing Storm Drone Costs A Cool $1.2 Million Says Florida Power &Amp; Light 1
Florida Power & Light also uses much smaller quadcopters such as the Mavic 2 drone.

Deployment of the FPLAir One fixed-wing storm drone after a big storm will surely help to restore power to people’s homes faster.

Photo credit: Hanna Morse for the Palm Beach Post

Fixed-Wing Storm Drone Costs A Cool $1.2 Million Says Florida Power &Amp; Light 2

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Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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