When it comes to testing Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), Oregon is geographically rich, boasting forested valleys, farmland, rivers, ocean beaches, large dry-land agricultural sites, bays, and a mountain peak reaching 10,000 feet.
SOAR Oregon has highlighted three primary test ranges along with their locations and capabilities on their new website (http://uastestranges.soaroregon.com). Here’s a quick highlight of the three test environments:
The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs UAS Test Range encompasses 645,000 acres or 1,000+ square miles along reservation borders. Test in diverse forests on more than 2/3 of the land base, 27 different plant associations, an annual precipitation range of 10” to 110” and elevation ranging from 1,000’ to 10,500’. The populated areas are concentrated, leaving most of the reservation uninhabited.
Located in eastern Oregon with 347 days of VFR (weather good enough for visual flight), the Pendleton Range has a wide range of imagery objectives, great weather for flying, and the growing need for UAS services. Range personnel are available to facilitate development, engineering and integration procedures, as well as modeling and simulation requirements and FAA and airspace compliance.
The Pendleton Range has capability to facilitate sensor testing. For extended range operations a chase aircraft is available to assure compliance with current “see and avoid” requirements.
The geography includes maritime, littoral, forest, mountain, valley and both rural and urban environments. While the vast majority of operations will be conducted in Class E and G, the airspace options include virtually all classifications except B. The Range provides easy access from Portland, Salem and Oregon State University.
NSC’s Tillamook airport is a former Naval Air Station that exists today as a low use uncontrolled General Aviation airfield. The 5,000’ main runway has GPS approach/departure. A secondary runway provides cross wind flexibility. Both have precision approach path indicator and lights to support night operations. The 5,000 square foot flight facility has a heated integration hangar and 3-story UAS control tower. The hangar supports payload integration, assembly and preflight preparation of UAS vehicles. It includes an avionics lab with test benches and an altitude chamber.
For more details, be sure to take a look at their website: http://uastestranges.soaroregon.com/