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Drone inspection of a factory chimney in Paris

The mission order we received from the company Mcc2i, which specializes in the maintenance of industrial chimneys, confirmed the request for a drone inspection of an old industrial brick chimney in Paris. On-site tracking has validated the possibility of a diagnosis by drone. It was still necessary to obtain the flight authorization issued by the Paris police headquarters because the capital is protected by the P23 zone which is prohibited from overflight by any aircraft, and the drone is an aircraft, without a crew on board but still an aircraft.

Old industrial brick chimney installed in an interior courtyard in Paris. Aerial photo by DCOMDRONE drone

We started our first services by drone in Paris in 2014. We therefore have a good experience of the steps to be taken, the documents to be provided, the conditions of operation of a drone for a service of aerial shots by drone in Paris.

What is the deadline for a drone flight authorization in Paris?

It took us a few days to gather all the documents and put together a file that meets the expectations of the police headquarters. Under these conditions and without surprise, we received a favorable opinion within 4 days which allowed us to schedule our intervention the following week with mild weather; no rain and very little wind.

Is the drone today the most effective solution?

Yes in many cases. Visual inspection of a brick chimney of this type can be carried out using a cherry picker when the environment is suitable. But you can see in the photos that it was impossible to position such a machine near the chimney and even less to walk around it to examine the structure and assess the condition of the masonry and any damage to the structure.

The drone represents the least expensive, least dangerous, fastest solution, in a word the most effective to carry out a complete diagnosis by photographing the entire construction a few centimeters from the walls.
Inspection par drone d'une cheminée industrielle en brique. Intervention de la société DCOMDRONE, spécialisée dans les prestations de prises de vue par drone dans Paris
If we had a comfortable flight volume on two generators, the drone had to evolve in a much smaller space on the other two generators.

How to proceed, how many flights for an industrial chimney inspection?

For this specific case, we made 4 elevations over the entire height of the chimney; each elevation being spaced at 90° angles. We photographed the entire masonry, the top of the chimney seen from the side and from above as well as the steel strapping with particular attention to their clamping clips.

Drone de la marque DJI. Modèle Mavic 2 Pro équipé de ses protections d'hélice à l'occasion d'une prestation d'inspection technique à proximité d'une cheminée industrielle réalisée par la société DCOMDRONE
Our drone is equipped with propeller protections to prevent it from falling in the event that it touches the chimney or the wall of the building opposite.
This type of environment requires very precise piloting, especially since the recessed position of the drone prohibits the use of GPS pilot assistance, which usually greatly secures flights. To allow the drone to approach 1m from the masonry we have also deactivated the avoidance radars. All this requires to increase the attention and maintain a total concentration.

We took 85 photos to cover the 4 sides of a chimney approximately 16m high and 2m in diameter at the base. The drone photo sensor offers, with a distance of one meter, a remarkable definition since 1 pixel on the photo represents 0.5 mm on the chimney; which offers the comfort of zooming into the original image to observe the fireplace in great detail as with this clamping clip. The live image feedback made it possible to observe the first disorders that it was impossible to observe from the ground, in particularly at the top of the chimney.


Industrial brick chimney in an interior courtyard in Paris. Photo by drone DCOMDRONE


If you want to know more, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to listen to you and advise you.


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