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Blessed are the pilots: France’s villages turn to drones to steam clean churches

  • 1 mth ago

Some stories provide great examples of “drones for good” activity. This one might be described more as “drones for God.” A small village in the southwest of France this week deployed a drone to clean the façade, roof, and bell tower of its church in a mission usually carried out by scaffolding-perched workers. The time and costs saved in that were nothing short of miraculous.

Drones flying heavenly missions in France’s villages for churches

For more than a century, France has become an increasingly urbanized society, as people flowed from towns and farmlands toward cities offering greater (and higher paying) employment opportunities. One consequence of that shift has been a deepening nostalgia and affection for the France profonde that was left behind: the small towns and rural villages dear to the French heart, and often visited during summer vacations. The bourg of Pouillon (pop. 3081) is one such village, and it’s now ready to welcome visitors with what many in France consider most iconic of its pastoral images: a small but tidy local church – this one cleaned by a drone.

This week, Pouillon mayor Patrick Vilhem broke with the tradition of manually steam cleaning the local house of worship, opting instead to let modern tech do the job. On Tuesday, local drone service provider Drones Ingénierie Systèmes deployed one of its DJI drones to cleanse the façade, roof, and bell tower. The Matrice 600 used is tethered to a high-pressure hose blasting cleaning and anti-moss fluids at altitudes of nearly 50 meters. Its aerial approach allows the pilot to efficiently reach areas workers have a tough time getting to, including the 47-meter spire housing Pouillon’s church bell.

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