Drax Cooling Tower inspection and survey

Case Study

Drax Cooling Tower inspection and survey

In early 2016, Cyberhawk completed an inspection on twelve 100m tall cooling towers at the Drax coal-fired power station near Selby, UK.

Cyberhawk’s two-man team, consisting of a highly trained UAV pilot and an inspection engineer, provided close visual and thermal UAV inspection of 12 cooling towers at Drax. Cyberhawk created a three dimensional model of each cooling tower to aid the visualisation and accurate measurement of defects and to complement a comprehensive inspection report providing detail on the 360o condition of the structure from ground level to the mantle.


The inspection of tall structures such as cooling towers, chimneys and flares requires meticulous planning. Typically, this standard of inspection would be carried out by a team of steeplejacks using cradle access suspended from the top of the cooling tower, and would require a period of two to three weeks to complete. The Cyberhawk’s team’s experience of working with tall and live assets at power stations saw Cyberhawk emerge as the preferred provider for this complex workscope.


This detailed reporting allowed Drax to evaluate its assets and make critical operational maintenance decisions. This service was vital to reduce the potential risk of costly delays or surprises during their planned shutdown.


With accurate condition information in hand, during the shutdown, the necessary repairs and maintenance was completed by a specialist chimney repair company.


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