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”.
High-tech UAS industries are arriving at Pendleton as a result of the recently awarded Pendleton UAS Range. The PUR Management Team, Peak 3 Technical Services conducted the first flights. Peak 3 has also provided several informational briefings about the civil and public UAS platforms that will be operating at the Range. The Team described the various UAS which can support agriculture, forestry, public safety and other sectors of Pendleton’s economy. Aeryon Labs Inc. provided a Scout UAS for the first flights at the PUR. Newcomer, ArgenTech Solutions, provided their advanced UAS Mobile Operations Center based out of the Pendleton UAS Range which is used to support Test Range operations as well as Geographic Information System (GIS) support for the U.S. Forest Service’s wildfire fighting efforts. The entire operation was supported by Hill Ranches, a family-owned farm which has operated near Pendleton for generations. Hill Ranches provided space on their land to conduct the operations. “Fritz and I are very excited about the potential that UAS bring to agriculture and we’re thrilled to be part of what the Pendleton UAS Range is doing.” said Jason Hill, co-owner of Hill Ranches.
Since being awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the PUR has been busy establishing policies, procedures and programs in coordination with the Pan-Pacific Test Range Complex, FAA and State of Oregon, in order to establish a safe and effective operational UAS Test Range. After a rigorous 10-month selection process involving 25 proposals from 24 states, the FAA chose the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport and City of Pendleton as one of the few Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Ranges across the country. The PUR is charged with assisting the FAA in Research and Development of how to safely integrate UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS).
The Eastern Oregon Regional Airport and City of Pendleton hired Peak 3, an experienced UAS services company, to provide program development and management support for the PUR.
“Peak 3 and the Pendleton UAS Range have received nothing but support from the City of Pendleton and these first flights serve as an opportunity to showcase all the great work going on at the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport and Pendleton UAS Range,” says Peak 3 PUR Range Manager John Stevens. “We’ve been working for months with the Pan-Pacific Test Range Complex and FAA to bring the PUR into full operations and this is our chance to say thank you to the local community for their incredible support and hospitality.”
“This UAS effort actually began in October 2012. At that point, it was a long shot and Pendleton was not on anyone’s radar in Oregon, and certainly not nationally. In true Pendleton fashion, though, a bunch of local volunteers came together and helped the Pan Pacific UAS Test Range Complex land an FAA test site. Ten months after that award, with the expert support of Peak 3, Pendleton is now the first operational range on the contiguous West Coast. That’s remarkable and a true testament to the hard work of those volunteers and also the unflinching support we received from the City Council, Oregon Army National Guard, Roundup City Development Corporation, and the community as a whole. This is a rare opportunity to attract high tech jobs into rural Oregon. As of today, we’re open for business.” said Steve Chrisman, Manager of the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport which hosts the Pendleton UAS Range.
Peak 3, Inc. is a Veteran-owned, small business, headquartered in Anchorage, AK. Peak 3 is a multi-faceted Unmanned Aircraft services company that uses their extensive experience across manned and unmanned aviation to provide exceptional operations, logistics, training and program development solutions for their customers. Find out more about Peak 3 at www.Peak3Inc.com or @Peak3Inc. Peak 3 is an Equal Opportunity Employer.