Skip to main content

Discovery Drilling Finds Right Mix

Darrin VanDehey, Driller, uses air rotary with a 6712DT.

Darrin VanDehey, Driller, uses air rotary with a 6712DT.

Contributed by DJ Wardwell, Operations Manager for Discovery Drilling in Anchorage, AK

As a Driller’s Helper, and now a Driller, it didn’t take long for me to become a “Geoprobe® Enthusiast.” And it didn’t take long, after traveling all over our great state using our Geoprobe® machines in all manner of ways, to realize we weren’t using our rigs to the fullest extent.

Our busiest platforms these days are our 7822DT, 6712DT(two), and 54LT.

6712DT Changed Everything

The modular design of the 6712DT has changed everything for us. The ability to separate the tower, unit platform, and tracks from each other has opened up a plethora of logistical options. In Alaska, where many jobsites are accessible only by small aircraft, landing craft, or helicopter, the simple modular design of the 6712DT has alleviated many logistical headaches. A pair of bolts and a few quick connects later, the tower is separated from the rest of the machine, and the load is split for easy air mobilization in smaller aircraft. We’ve slung our 6712DTs to the tops of many mountains, as well as extremely remote locations with no access options other than helicopter. The 6712DT truly is the perfect drill platform for our Alaskan drilling adventures, and we’ve successfully employed some very non-traditional tooling options with it (air rotary, DT45, wireline coring, and more!). It’s been a real game-changer for us, and the Geoprobe® Team has been extremely supportive in helping us employ the 6712DT in some very unconventional ways.

7822DT Is Phenomenal

After I attended the 2014 Geoprobe® Open House and had spoken to drillers from all over the world, it became clear that our fleet was lacking a 7822DT. Everyone had positive things to say about the machine, so we purchased one shortly after I returned to Anchorage. It turned out to be a very wise purchase, and opened the door for us to complete more challenging projects and efficiently run larger tooling options (DT45, specifically). Our drillers love the machine’s extra stroke and power, and the on-board break-out tool allows us to complete harder jobs faster, on top of providing extra convenience and options for the operators. Pound for pound, the 7822DT is a phenomenal machine.

54LT ... The Little Rig That Could

The 54LT has been an amazing supplement to our ever-growing fleet of Geoprobe® machines, often being the solution to a big project that requires a small drill. We’ve used it for its traditional direct push applications in some very interesting locals, and like it’s big brother, the 6712DT, it has now taken to the sky! Once we realized we could incorporate a method of air rotary using the adjustable percussion-to-rotation valve on the GH42 hammer, we started slinging our 54LT to remote mountain-top sites to assist with communication tower construction. Watching the 54LT fly through the air on a helicopter long line is quite a site! We’re really pleased with the performance and versatility of the 54LT.

Enthusiastic Geoprobe® Service

We always know that however major, minor, or downright ridiculous our problems might be, someone at Geoprobe® is always there to enthusiastically assist us. Considering we are just one out of countless drilling contractors all over the world who look to Geoprobe® for support and technical guidance, I try not to take for granted the amount of time and effort their field technicians put into helping us. We’re fortunate to have a vendor who not only provides us with superior drilling equipment and tooling, but who also gives us a level of customer support that is unparalleled throughout the industry. Thank you to the team at Geoprobe Systems®, for helping our business succeed in ways we never thought possible. You can count on Discovery Drilling to push your drills to new extremes for many years to come!

Contact Us

1835 Wall Street
Salina, Kansas 67401
Phone: (785) 825-1842

6712DT direct push drill rig

6712DT Drill Rig

Engineered to separate into sections for helicopter transport, the 6712DT leverages its Tier 4 engine for additional power and control to make environmental work easier.

Photo Gallery

Darrin VanDehey, Driller, uses air rotary with a 6712DT.
Soni Makihele, Driller, advances air rotary tooling through bedrock on a remote mountain top. The 6712DT was mobilized via helicopter long line.
Scott Bombard, Driller, uses air rotary with a 54LT to facilitate grounding rod installation.
Scott Bombard, Driller, displays a high level of dedication and filthiness as he advances air rotary tooling through murky water.
A 5-ft. rock core collected by DJ Wardwell, Operations Manager, with a 6712DT.
Air rotary casing advancement at a 45 degree angle with the 7822DT.
(l to r) Drillers Scott Bombard, Derek Dell and Project Engineer, Ryan Campbell, try to stay warm in their makeshift wind fort on the harsh tundra in northern Alaska.

Related Articles

Primarily roaming within a 100-mile radius of Philadelphia, TRISTATE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SERVICES performs a broad range of environmental field services in New Jersey and Southeast Pennsylvania. Project Manager Ted Sobieski credits their “jack-of-all

ID: 13417 | Date: 2023-04-19

As a project engineer with a Ph.D., Aaron Crowley desired to own his own company. So in May 2022 he partnered with Julie Oliphant, owner of Athena Engineering and Environmental, to launch a sister company ATHENA DRILLING to complete a range of geotechnica

ID: 13413 | Date: 2023-04-19

For some air rotary drilling is a rarity, but for EICHELBERGERS INC in Pennsylvania it’s a weekly occurrence using their 7822DTs. They’ve completed air rotary to 220 feet; they’ve drilled using 8-inch and 10-inch casing. On one project they set 10-inch ca

ID: 13412 | Date: 2023-04-19

Starting his drilling industry career as a consultant, David Draybuck discovered he didn’t love writing reports. So in 2011, he and his partner gathered funds from closed 401(k)s and an SBA loan to buy a piece of used equipment and launch ENVIROTECH DRILL

ID: 13409 | Date: 2023-04-19

Established in 2017 to provide drilling services to geotechnical engineers — focusing on mud rotary technology, PG ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES struggled to break into the environmental market.

ID: 13407 | Date: 2023-04-18