Oregon Site Joins UAF’s Unmanned Aircraft Testing Complex
An Oregon test site for unmanned aircraft systems has joined the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex, also known as the Alaska UAS Test Site, operated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Northwest UAV, based in McMinnville, Oregon, began inaugural flights in September 2019 as part of the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex.
UAF’s Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration operates the complex, one of seven US unmanned aircraft test sites approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. It has partners in Oregon, Hawaii, Kansas, and Mississippi.
Northwest UAV’s flight facility in McMinnville lets users develop their UAVs from the design phase through flight testing. Resources include a ground and flight test range, as well as an on-site dedicated machine shop; a 3D printing operation; aeronautical, mechanical and electrical engineering services; wire harness production and other services. Northwest UAV’s facility also includes up to 15,000 square feet of space dedicated for on-site customer use.
Through UAF, Northwest UAV has been granted permission to operate its own range. Its aircraft will be allowed to fly up to 4,000 feet high in a five-nautical-mile radius of the facility. McMinnville is about thirty miles southwest of Portland.
“It’s about efficiency and quality,” said Chris Harris, president and owner of Northwest UAV. “With this certificate of operation and our full-service campus all in one area, our customers are able to design, build, test and instantly troubleshoot their UAV needs, which substantially decreases project turn time from design to deployment.”
“We’re excited to offer the opportunity to legally fly drones in the McMinnville area,” said David Jackson, Northwest UAV’s facility security officer. “As a licensed private and unmanned vehicle pilot, I’m well aware of the risks involved in any airspace. With this knowledge, we prepared accordingly to make sure our operations remain within FAA regulations and keep everyone in our airspace (and around it) safe.”
Cathy Cahill, director of UAF’s ACUASI, is pleased to have the new site as part of the test range. “We are delighted to support the additional safe research, development, testing and evaluation of unmanned aircraft technology that will be possible with our new range and partners in McMinnville,” she said.
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When Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) first aired TV commercials featuring the tagline, “A Place That’s Always Been,” the reaction was surprising. Not only because they received numerous accolades and marketing awards for the campaign but because, at the time, it was rare for Alaska Native corporations to market themselves through the media.