Fire mapping technology set for Warm Springs trial

A tech firm in Bend has teamed with a Boeing subsidiary to develop an unmanned aircraft system that provides wildland firefighters with real-time fire data.

FireWhat Inc., a geographic information systems, or GIS, company with an office in Bend, and Insitu, a Boeing Co. subsidiary based in Hood River, will test the system later this month at the Warm Springs test range for unmanned aerial vehicles. Representatives of FireWhat and Insitu made the announcement Thursday at the Oregon UAS Summit and Expo at the Riverhouse on the Deschutes convention center in Bend.

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Autonomous robots and drones will operate future farms

Where is it taking us, all this technology? Where is it taking agriculture?  If the presentations and demonstrations at the recent Future Farm Expo are an indication, it’s taking us to Jaw Drop City.  Some of this is already in place:

A network of field sensors and software produces a three-dimensional soil map to help with crop selection, tillage and drainage decisions, and variable rate prescriptions for seeding, fertilizer and irrigation.

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Overwatch Imaging Successfully Completes SOAR Oregon Program for Stabilized Multispectral Camera System Development

August 07, 2017 – Hood River, OR. — Overwatch Imaging, a small business specializing in customized large-scale aerial imagery intelligence systems, successfully completed a year-long program to upgrade the autonomous image processing capabilities of its TK-X family of airborne multi-camera payloads. The software development program was conducted in collaboration with SOAR Oregon, a not for profit Economic Development organization focused on the development of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) industry in Oregon.

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City of Pendleton to Open New, 9,600 Square-Foot Hangar at the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport on June 10

Vahana, an A3 by Airbus project, to be the first occupant as hangar and mobile command center are specifically designed and built to support unmanned aircraft systems

June 7, 2017 – BEND Ore. – SOAR Oregon, a statewide nonprofit based in Bend that fosters growth in the state’s rapidly evolving Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) industry, today opened a new, 9,600 square-foot hangar at Pendleton’s UAS Range (PUR), which will be officially opened at a ribbon-cutting on Saturday, June 10.

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FlightHouse Engineering Partners with Vahana; First Full-Scale Canard Structure Accepted

April 27, 2017 — Portland, OR. FlightHouse Engineering LLC, a firm specializing in the design of unmanned aircraft systems, today announced it has secured a contract to design and manufacture the composite airframes for the Vahana demonstration vehicles with the full-scale canard already being delivered on schedule to Vahana. Vahana is an electric, self-piloted vehicle project being developed by , the advanced projects and partnerships outpost of Airbus in Silicon Valley.

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Eagle Tech Systems, a subsidiary of Warm Springs Ventures, an enterprise of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs announce the hiring of a Range manager

March 30, 2017 — Warm Springs, OR. Tribally owned Eagle Tech Systems announced today that the FAA UAS Manager is focused on taking the Range skyward!

Warm Springs is part of the Pan Pacific Unmanned Test Range Complex under the auspices of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. We have brought Liz Stalford onto our team as the FAA UAS Test Range Manager. She is a commercial multi-engine, seaplane and instructor pilot with extensive experience in both military and commercial unmanned aerial systems.

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Pendleton range selected to test groundbreaking UAS

Once deployed, ArcticShark is expected to gather world’s most sophisticated atmospheric data

February 27, 2017 — PENDLETON, Ore. Prior to its scheduled launch in 2018, the ArcticShark — a groundbreaking new unmanned aerial system designed to collect the world’s most sophisticated atmospheric data in the Arctic — will undergo flight testing at Pendleton’s UAS Range starting today.

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AirVūz News: SOAR Oregon

You may not realize it, but across the United States, there are seven test sites for unmanned aircraft. Each site is FAA approved for commercial drone operators to test their products.

We went to check out one of the test sites located in the Pacific Northwest and run by the group SOAR Oregon. The site features distinctly different test ranges in Tillamook, Warm Springs and Pendelton. It’s that variety that SOAR Oregon Executive Director Earl Bowerman believes makes their site appealing.

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Trillium Tests Their HD50 Gimbal at the Pendleton UAS Test Range

Pendleton, ORTrillium Engineering recently flight tested their HD50 gimbal aboard the AirRobot AR200 platform at the Pendleton UAS Range. The Trillium Team flew test flights at the range in order to perform payload integration and validation testing, in preparation for a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) demonstration. By all accounts, the demonstration exceeded the agency’s expectations for imagery quality and stability.

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Pendleton UAS Test Range Awarded Range-wide Authorization to 9,999 Feet

Pendleton, OR — The Pendleton UAS Test Range achieved another important milestone recently as the FAA awarded them a range-wide Certification of Waiver or Authorization (COA) that covers the entire 14,000 square miles of range area. This COA, written for small UAS (sUAS) or “drones”, allows operations up to 9,999’, day or night, within visual line of site.

The COA was awarded to the Range through the hard work and coordination of the Pendleton UAS Test Range Team, ArgenTech Solutions, representatives of the Pan Pacific UAS Test Range Complex (PPUTRC) at The University of Alaska, Fairbanks, SOAR Oregon, and the FAA.

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Aerial Inspection Resources Conducts Transmission Tower Inspections at Warm Springs UAS Range

Warm Springs, Oregon —  Aerial Inspection Resources (AIR) conducted a series of successful flights on Thursday, June 9th, at Oregon’s Warm Springs UAS Test Range.  

Portland, Oregon-based AIR ( has been operating UAS commercially in the United States since for over a year with a focus on industrial inspection.  AIR flew a DJI S900 with 32 megapixel Sony camera to evaluate the suitability of the Warm Springs Simnasho De-Energized High-Voltage Line site for further research and development.

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SOAR Oregon Continues 2016 Grants Program and Request for Proposals

SOAR continues to seek proposals from Oregon companies for projects which will create UAS-related jobs or generate other UAS-related long-term economic activity in the state.  Oregon companies include those in the Columbia Gorge or elsewhere whose operations cross state boundaries, as well as those who want to establish a place of business or conduct operations in Oregon.  Because grants come from state tax funds, the proposal must clearly document the benefit to Oregon.

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SOAR Oregon Announces Grant to Near Space Corporation to Support Tillamook UAS Test Range Operations

SOAR Oregon is pleased to announce a grant award to Near Space Corporation (NSC) in support of operations at the Tillamook UAS Test Range. The grant will allow NSC to competitively address the emerging UAS test flight market and increase the number of flights at the Tillamook UAS Test Range.

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SOAR Oregon Announces Grant to City of Pendleton to Establish the Oregon UAS FutureFarm™

SOAR Oregon is pleased to announce a grant award to the City of Pendleton for the establishment of a FutureFarm™ project at the Pendleton, Oregon UAS Test Range.

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SOAR Oregon Announces Grant to Decavo, LLC of Hood River

On Friday, April 7th, 2016, SOAR awarded a grant to Decavo, LLC for advanced engineering and development of UAS technologies.  Decavo, based in Hood River, specializes in state-of-the-art composite design and fabrication.

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SOAR Oregon Announces Grant to Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum

On Tuesday, April 5th, 2016, SOAR awarded a grant to Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum for the establishment of a UAV Education Outreach Program.   Evergreen’s current education programs reach over 27,000 students each year. The UAV program will offer students the opportunity to learn about real-world applications of UAVs and drones.

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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and ArgenTech Solutions (AgTS) fly at Pendleton UAS Range

Pendleton, OR – The Pendleton UAS Range (PUR), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and ArgenTech Solutions (AgTS) conducted Unmanned Aircraft operations this week in the skies above the fields of Pendleton. The PNNL flights were conducted in support of PNNL aircrew currency and science sensor testing to augment upcoming research and atmospheric testing campaigns.

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EDCO UAS-themed Pub Talk on Thursday, March 24th!

Our friends at Economic Development of Central Oregon are hosting a UAS-themed Pub Talk on March 24th! Keynote speaker Jonathan Downey, Founder/CEO of Airware, was named USA TODAY’s Small-Business Innovator of the Year in 2015 for his company’s success in navigating the future of drones. If you’ve never been to a Pub Talk, they’re fantastic fun — engaging speakers from the cutting edge of industry, a great venue, and incredible beer.

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SOAR Oregon announces 2016 Grants Program and Request For Proposals

Bend, Oregon —  SOAR Oregon (SOAR), a 501(c)(6) non-profit established to help make Oregon a leader in the civil Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) industry, is soliciting grant proposals for projects that will create UAS-related jobs or generate other UAS-related long-term economic activity in the state.

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First Flights at Warm Springs UAS Range

WARM SPRINGS, Ore. – Warm Springs tribally owned Eagle Tech Systems announced Wednesday the first launch of unmanned aerial vehicles at the Metolius Bench occupational site.

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SOAR Oregon commits to support Know Before You Fly campaign

Bend, Oregon —  SOAR Oregon has stated its commitment to actively and consciously support the Know Before You Fly campaign.   The campaign’s mission is to provide consumers and prospective business operators of unmanned aircraft systems the tools to know how to fly safely and responsibly before taking to the skies.

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SOAR Oregon offers UAS/drone industry knowledge and insight to Oregon media

Bend, Oregon – SOAR has a team of experts on staff who are up-to-date on regulatory and technology developments in the UAS industry.  Additionally, SOAR is well-connected with government, public, and private entities working with UAS.  As story leads and opportunities arise, SOAR would like to offer this network and body of knowledge to media members.  SOAR can help provide a deeper understanding of the complex UAS regulatory landscape as well as context for technology-related stories.

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Wyden, Merkley Laud FAA Decision on Unmanned Aircraft

osu-article-smallWashington, D.C . – Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley praised today’s announcement by federal regulators that cuts red tape for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test sites in Pendleton, Tillamook and Warm Springs to conduct research that creates jobs in an innovative industry.

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OSU uses unmanned aircraft to take temperatures up in the air

osu-article-smallCORVALLIS, Ore. – For the first time, scientists at Oregon State University are measuring atmospheric temperatures with fiber optic thermometers suspended from unmanned aircraft—combining two emerging technologies to probe a poorly understood swath of Earth’s atmosphere.

With funding from the National Science Foundation, John Selker is buying two new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to loft sophisticated measuring instruments of his own design into an atmospheric zone that’s been hard to study until now.

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Senior Executives Hired for Commercial Drones, Oregon Test Ranges

chuck-smallBusiness, technical experts named as Executive Director, Chief Operations Officer
Bend (OR)—March 25, 2015— SOAR Oregon, a non-profit funded by the state of Oregon, has made two significant hires as it begins its second year focused on developing the civilian Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS or commercial drone) industry in Oregon.

Chuck Allen, a veteran of entrepreneurial startups and multinational corporations, has been named Executive Director of SOAR; and John Stevens, a leader in manned and unmanned aircraft operations and program management, has been named Chief Operations Officer (COO) for Oregon’s unmanned aircraft test ranges.

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Governor Brown Announces Investment in Pendleton Unmanned Aerial Systems Testing Site

state-of-oregon-seal(Pendleton, OR) — Governor Kate Brown, Business Oregon, and the City of Pendleton today announced a $545,000 state investment to help make Eastern Oregon a premiere test range for commercial unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

“This new funding represents more than an investment in a few concrete pads and buildings,” said Governor Brown. “It demonstrates that when presented with a unique chance to seize an innovative market, State government is poised to step forward to support the community leaders who are working hard to develop a new industry.”

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Growing the UAS industry in Pendleton

sean-robbinsToday, I was proud to join Gov. Kate Brown and Pendleton Mayor Phillip Houk to announce a $1.6 million state investment in the region’s nascent unmanned aerial systems industry.

In many ways, it felt a bit like a homecoming. Mayor Houk and his team shared their vision for UAS with us during our state tour last summer and today’s announcement is how we’re helping accelerate their good work.

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OSU to expand collaboration, outreach on UAVs, sensing technologies

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has formed a new group to organize and expand its work and collaboration with unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, as well as marine and terrestrial technologies, sensing and imaging systems.

This Autonomous Systems Research Group will help facilitate work on campus, but also conduct public outreach and collaborative work with private industry and government agencies.

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SOAR Oregon Announces Website for UAS Test RangesUAS_UAV_Test_Ranges_Oregon_screenshot

BEND (OR)—Dec. 2—The website for Oregon’s test-flight ranges for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS, also called commercial drones) is up and running. The site – at – provides comprehensive information on the state’s three test ranges at Pendleton, Tillamook, and Warm Springs, where UAS can be flown in a safe, well-supported test environment.

The website provides a high-level overview of the three test ranges, their locations and capabilities, and a drill-down on the technical capabilities of each, including relevant factors such as airport details, infrastructure, visuals of the surrounding airspace (e.g., airways and jetways), other operational-related information, and local amenities. The site includes contact information for each range manager.

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Experts discuss UAVs at Kah-Nee-TaAUVSI_Poster_Warm_Springs_Forum

First drone flight from Warm Springs test site expected soon
By Rachael Rees / The Bulletin
Published Oct 2, 2014 at 12:01AM

WARM SPRINGS — About 200 representatives from the unmanned aerial vehicle
industry gathered Wednesday at Kah-Nee-Ta Resort & Spa — in the middle of a federal UAV test range — to discuss commercializing drone technology.

“We’re taking a military technology and transitioning it over to commercial and civil applications, meaning we’re going to do precision agriculture, search and rescue, and we’re going to fight forest fires,” said Eric Folkestad, president of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Cascade Chapter.

Read more at The Bulletin

Pendleton UAS Range is Open for Business using the Aeryon Scout

October 1, 2014Commercial-Droid-Test-Range-Aeryon Scout

The Pendleton Unmanned Aircraft Systems Range (PUR) achieved Initial Operating Capability on September 30 2014, successfully operating an Aeryon Scout system in accordance with a Federal Aviation Administration Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA), within the University of Alaska, Fairbanks’ Pan Pacific UAS Test Range Complex (PPUTRC). The flights took place at Hill Ranches, about 5 miles northeast of the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport.

The event highlighted the type of aeronautical research which the Pendleton UAS Range is chartered to perform under agreements with the FAA and PPUTRC, by verifying the Scout’s ability to support first responders in identifying and locating residual hot spots of rangeland wildfires. The crew performed two short capability flights this morning. “These first flights are testimony to the tremendous cooperation and support of the City of Pendleton, OR, the Pan Pacific UAS Test Range Complex, the FAA, Aeryon Labs and Hill Ranches” said John Stevens, Pendleton UAS Range Manager. “We’re very excited to continue to develop this, and other relationships in the UAS industry, in order to further the FAA goal of UAS integration into the National Airspace System”.

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Grants Go for Agriculture, Flight Safety & Test-Range Support

“Designed to Stimulate Jobs, Civilian Uses for Unmanned Aircraft Systems”

BEND, OR – May 15, 2014 – Precision agriculture, improved flight safety and reliability, and support for Oregon’s flight-test ranges represent the winning areas for grants designed to stimulate industry jobs and civilian uses of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drones) in the state.

The awards are the result of a three-month process by the nonprofit SoarOregon to select winning proposals for projects to stimulate innovation, create jobs, and help establish Oregon as a national leader in this new technology field. The awards are intended to seed job creation by enabling the recipients to rapidly complete new commercial products and services that provide a strategic market advantage.

Grants recipients are:
• Paradigm of Bend for development of a system to collect and analyze pest management data for agricultural crops, $60,000.

• NW UAV of McMinnville, in partnership with the VT Group of Tigard, for completion of a new, certifiable propulsion system for flight vehicles, $75,000.• Fordyce Design and Manufacturing of Gaston for a standardized servo system for flight vehicles, $14,000.

• Insitu’s Advanced Programs Engineering Group of Hood River for development of flight navigation and communication systems to integrate manned and unmanned aircraft for missions such as firefighting and search and rescue, $75,000.

• Cloud Cap Technologies will integrate Sagetech’s next generation transponder for development of a new-generation transponder and autopilot for improved flight safety at test ranges and eventually in the general airspace, $103,000.

“All of these grants help move unmanned technology forward significantly to increase safety, reliability, and functionality, making it possible for unmanned vehicles to take on important roles for which they are uniquely suited,” said Rick Spinrad, vice president of research at Oregon State University and board president of SoarOregon. “Oregon is taking major steps to prove new applications in areas such as agriculture and firefighting, which will lead to new jobs, and we are helping the state’s unmanned industry become leaders in the integration of civilian flights into the nation’s airspace.”

All awards are contingent upon the recipient achieving specific technical or business milestones. Most of the awards will also involve flights within, or managed by, one of Oregon’s three UAS test ranges, at Pendleton, Tillamook and Warm Springs north of Madras.

Oregon is part of a Pan-Pacific partnership led by Alaska that recently was named one of six Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) national Test Sites. All three Oregon ranges have made UAS flights through existing FAA procedures as preliminary steps in standing up under the new FAA system.

SoarOregon, previously known as the Oregon Unmanned Aerial Systems Business Enterprise, received a two-year, $882,000 state grant from the Oregon Business Development Dept. and the Oregon Innovation Council, which was approved by the 2013 Legislature, to stimulate job creation in this new industry.

SoarOregon serves the state or Oregon and is based in Bend. It was previously known as the Oregon Unmanned Aerial Systems Business Enterprise.

2014 AUVSI Drone Prize Finalists Announced

Today, the organizers of the 2014 AUVSI Drone Prize ( announced the three teams of finalists who will be traveling to Oregon on August 22, 23 & 24 to participate in a series of competitions that will determine the overall winner of the prize. The prize was created by the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International ( to encourage enthusiasts and non-profit organizations to demonstrate beneficial applications for hobby-level Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS), commonly known as “drones.”

The three finalists selected by the judging panel are:

“Three Chicks and a Drone”

Environmental scientist Pat Welle, along with her friends Veronica and Deb, is working with the Scappoose Bay Watershed Council, using a hobby multirotor equipped with a high-definition video camera to document Duck Lake and the surrounding environment, with the goal of enhancing wetlands in the area. You can learn more about their project by watching their video submission to the competition, here:


“Furman University”

John R. Conrad, Mike Winiski and Taylor DeLench of Furman University utilized a hobby multirotor equipped with a high-definition video camera to plot the location of functioning streetlights in the Washington Heights and Poe Mill neighborhoods of Greenville, South Carolina. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques, the team was able to explore the relationship between nighttime illumination and crime. You can learn more about their project by watching their video submission to the competition, here:


“Grady 3G UAV Team”

Gardner Chambliss is a volunteer mentor to the Grady High School Robotics Team in Atlanta, Georgia. With his support and guidance, the students have participated in a series of demonstrations and projects, including working with law enforcement to study the potential use of drones in tactical situations such as bomb disposal and presenting to the Georgia Society of Professional Engineers. You can learn more about their project by watching their video submission to the competition, here:


On Friday, August 22, representative of all three teams will participate in an Aerial Robotics Innovation Day in Bend, Oregon – a hotbed for the emerging UAS industry – sponsored by Intel ( For additional information about this event, follow this link: 

The final competition will be held the following day – Saturday, August 23 – on a drone test range designated by the Federal Aviation Administration, under the auspices of the Academy of Model Aeronautics ( safety program. The event concludes on Sunday, August 24, with an awards ceremony and celebrationMay 15, 2014