Pioneering blade inspections at Sheringham Shoal


For the first time ever at Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm, drones were used to inspect all 264 turbine blades across the 88 offshore locations.

Sheringham Shoal, operated by Statoil, a key player in the UK’s offshore wind sector, partnered with Martek Aviation to carry out the inspections. 200 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) flights were deployed, each taking eight minutes to collect the relevant data. This allowed Statoil to instantly assess the condition of their assets on site.

Due to the advancements in UAS technology, the challenges faced with traditional inspection methods are being transformed into a safer and more streamlined data collection process. Previously, blade turbine inspections were performed from the ground using a simple camera for visual inspections or by risky human rope access. The use of drones has removed the requirement to climb the turbine.

Dale Symonds, Senior Engineer, Statoil – Sheringham Shoal, said: “Martek Aviation is a professional company providing world-class wind turbine inspection services. The UAS high-resolution camera has allowed us to perform excellent quality inspections on all turbine blades, providing us with confidence and clarity. The service has allowed us to become more efficient, safe and profitable with our wind turbine inspections.

“Their on-site inspection team and back office support provided excellent customer service. I would have no hesitations in recommending Martek Aviation and we are already talking about how we can continue working together across other Statoil wind parks.”