UAV News and Press Releases



 Webinar:  Effective Use of Geospatial Tools in Highway Construction




Geospatial tools are widely used during highway construction and are considered foundational to realizing value for stakeholders through improved efficiency and quality. Understanding the benefits, challenges and future opportunities of using these tools will help guide investments and improve stewardship responsibilities. Specifically, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) offer significant benefit to the project delivery process, but little is known about the costs, benefits and limitations of this technology. Recent regulatory changes for UAS have increased the opportunity for deploying this technology during highway construction, but highlighted the need for recommendations on tool selection and appropriate use of geospatial tools as a whole. The FHWA is introducing recently-completed research into the effective use of geospatial tools in highway construction through a public webinar. This work was completed under FHWA Contract No. DTFH6115C00042.




March 29, 2017 

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm EST



Morgan Kessler, FHWA; Jagannath Mallela, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff; Michael Olsen, Oregon State University 


Cost: Free and Open to the Public 

Link: Geospatial Tools Seminar


Morgan Kessler, FHWA


Big News for Big Bend Community College and Northwest UAS Activities


March 21, 2017

Big Bend Community College is expanding its course offerings in Unmanned Systems thanks to state approvals.  Check out the graphic below to see the new offerings that are huge steps forward for professional UAS training in Eastern Washington and across the Northwest region.

BBCC will also be teaching UMS 107 (Part 107 UAS Remote Pilot test prep course) in May of this year. This is different from similar Part 107 courses, in that the course will provide 4-6 hours of safety of flight/hands-on flight training in addition to academic training.  The 2 credit hour course will be provided over five full evenings and one full Saturday.




Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation (JCATI)
Annual Research Symposium
Tuesday, April 4 9AM-4PM
University of Washington HUB

Symposium Registration

Featured speakers include:
Keynote: Miguel San Martin, NASA JPL 
Annamarie Askren, Blue Origin
Jeff Finan, Echodyne Corporation
Robert Griggs, GE Advanced Manufacturing
John Hamilton, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

General Admission: $75, Student Admission: $10
Symposium schedule at

JCATI provides funding for Washington State academic-industry
partnerships creating cutting edge aerospace technology. Join us to see 
how JCATI helps keep WA aerospace strong and competitive.

Beth Hacker, JCATI Program Manager




New drone app in development: helping you fly safe

Released February 10, 2017

Can I fly there mobile App

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has teamed up with specialist company, Drone Complier, to develop a smartphone, tablet and web-based app to help drone flyers fly safely and responsibly.

The app, called ‘Can I fly there?’ is due to be launched in May this year.

The app will allow those flying drones for fun, or under the new sub-2kg commercial category to enter a location where they are proposing to fly. It will then flag nearby ‘no-drone zones’ such as airports, helicopter landing areas and other restricted areas.

It will also flag ‘no-drone zones’ areas where emergency services such as firefighters are operating.
CASA’s Group Manager, Aviation, Graeme Crawford, said that the app would also educate Australia’s drone community on what rules to follow.

‘The app will encourage these drone flyers to operate responsibly and to follow our standard operating conditions each and every time they fly,’ Mr Crawford said.

‘We know people want to have fun with their drones. We want to help them do this safely by reducing the potential for them to fly their drone inadvertently in a way that might cause a threat to aircraft or other people.

‘This app will provide them with the relevant content and services they expect to have at their fingertips when out flying.’

Drone Complier’s Chief Executive Officer, Wayne Rochat, said that they were excited to have been selected by CASA to support the Australian sub 2kg drone category. 

‘Our software is focused on ensuring simple drone compliance, delivering safety and simplicity for both hobbyist and enterprise customers,’ Mr Rochat said.
‘Drone Complier’s new app will provide CASA with a capability to execute on their vision to create safe skies for all.’ 
Drone Complier was selected by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority following a competitive tender process that opened in September 2016.

Media contact:
Peter Gibson
0419 296 446

Drone Complier
Kobus Franck
02 4203 3007

AV 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.

“The real differentiator is access to airspace. We feel like Oregon’s positioned really well to showcase because of the variety of terrain that we have, as well as the cost of our operations.”

The Tillamook test range offers a coastal climate stretching nearly the entire western coast of Oregon, the Warm Springs site provides 1,000 square miles of mountain terrain and high elevation while clients needing farm or forest land would use the 14 thousand square mile Pendleton range.

“For us to go from eight customers last year to 48 this year, we’re seeing that we have what the customers are looking for in comparison to other places. We also have the airspace that a lot of other places don’t have. And the other part of the thing that’s attractive about Oregon is our test ranges have accommodations right on the test range in most cases.”

Two of the three SOAR Oregon ranges feature control towers and while two offer hangar space. The Tillamook site has both a control tower and a hangar for customers. Tillamook’s range is run by Near Space Corporation, which does plenty of high-altitude testing. The ability to fly at those altitudes is appealing to Tillamook’s clients.

“It’s really about who needs the additional airspace that we’re able to offer here at Near Space. We’re able to operate in Class A airspace, as well as operating at altitudes that you couldn’t at other off-test sites. So that attracts a lot of folks to come here and test their vehicles.”

SOAR Oregon is state funded and Bowerman meets once a month with state legislators to make sure that funding continues. Since its start in 2015, SOAR Oregon has received plenty of support both financially and otherwise from the state.

“The legislators in Oregon early on saw the opportunity for the UAS industry for Oregon and what it could complement other industries already here — super high tech, a lot of resources. A lot of those skillsets on the software and development side and engineering and manufacturing are already here.”

While Bowerman can’t discuss who his clients are or what types of UAS technology are being tested at their sites, he is excited about Oregon’s role in the future of the drone industry. 

“Every time I read a magazine, every six months the projections go up in the billions. Last year it was projected to be about $82 billion. Then it got bumped up to $100 billion, now $127 billion industry. As soon as the FAA is able to coordinate a safety mindset and allow these drones to fly beyond visual line of sight, we’re going to see a huge change in our daily disruptive.”

As drone companies continue to test their products with an eye on the future, companies like SOAR Oregon will be helping them pave the way.

Check out the AirVuz video at:






Call for Papers on Remote Identification for Small UAS
On behalf of our membership, AUVSI represents the views of the unmanned systems and robotics community to government officials, regulators, media and the public.  It is in that spirit that AUVSI has announced a Call for Papers on remote identification technologies and solutions to identify operators and pilots of small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS). 
AUVSI is requesting interested individuals, companies, and other organizations to provide a high-level overview on available, and/or emerging technologies to support the identification and tracking of SUAS operating under visual flight rules and not using air traffic control services. This canvassing will allow for AUVSI to provide Section 2202 government stakeholders a clear picture of the current technology landscape and help begin federal efforts to meet the congressional directive. 
For guidance on what to include in an overview, here are suggested key areas to highlight: 
Technology Description
  • Overview of technology concept 
Technology Operational Concept
  • Describe how it would be employed and the user interface application 
  • Describe supporting infrastructure (e.g. internet) 
  • Define Technology Readiness Level (when could it be fielded for testing/initial operations) 
  • Describe reliability assurance and continuity of service features 
  • Describe utilization of readily available spectrum/communication network(s) (e.g. LTE) 
  • Highlight limiting factors 
Airborne Component: Describe component(s)/technology that would be on the vehicle. Must be technologies that will work on a SUAS vehicle (<55lbs).
  •  Light weight 
  •  Low power (power source) 
  •  Miniaturized in size 
  •  Rough order of cost (must be affordable for vehicle equipage) 
Ground Component: Describe the ground component(s)/technology needed for identification and tracking of vehicle. 
Submit papers through the AUVSI website here. The deadline for submitting papers is March 22, 2017. Selected parties may be contacted for further discussion.


ArgenTech Solutions (AgTS) Plans Pendleton Range Operations 

 24 February 2017


Pendleton, OR – ArgenTech Solutions (AgTS), a Veteran Owned Small Business headquartered in Newmarket, NH is leaving contrails in the skies of the Unmanned Aircraft industry.  No rookie to the Unmanned Aircraft world, AgTS has logged 62,000+ flight hours and provided expert project support both domestically and abroad for U.S. and NATO troops, maritime vessels, academic institutions, and commercial entities alike.

AgTS continues to shape the landscape with their upcoming operations in support of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) research and development flight testing at the Pendleton Range.  AgTS spent the last year working closely with the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF) and the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex (PPUTRC) to obtain Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight approvals and build the Concept of Operations for the newly developed ArcticShark, manufactured by Navmar Applied Science Corporation (NASC).  The ArcticShark is a 640 pound aircraft (max), capable of reaching 20,000 feet MSL.  The ArcticShark will be used as a tool to collect atmospheric data and advance the scientific research for the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).  This new tool will advance their aviation department and Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program to study cloud formation processes and their influence on radiative transfer.  



AgTS is a leader in advancing the unmanned aircraft industry and integration into the National Airspace System (NAS).  AgTS established the processes, procedures and programs that brought the Pendleton UAS Range to Initial Operating Capability (IOC) during an evolving drone regulatory environment.  In 2016, AgTS also provided contracted services and support for five different customers performing operations at the Pendleton Range.  “We are pleased to support PNNL with their Class D operations, assisting in their test objectives as well as that of PPUTRC and the FAA,” stated Jen Armstrong, VP AgTS Commercial Services. 

Keep your eyes in the sky!  Flight operations, testing and training will be conducted at the Pendleton Range throughout March from the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport under visual meteorological conditions, during daylight hours.  Flights will be conducted above unpopulated areas, in accordance with FAA regulations and a strict adherence to Safety Risk Management.  

ArgenTech Solutions is a VOSB headquartered in Newmarket, NH:

Pacific Northwest Laboratories, Proudly Operated by Battelle since 1965:

Pan-Pacific Test Range Complex – University of Alaska, Fairbanks:

Please find out more information at the Pendleton UAS range website:


Washington’s $10B Unmanned Industry

June 11,2013
Seattle Weekly News by Rick Anderson

As Seattle frets about unmanned aircraft, Washington is erecting a multibillion-dollar industry

Tad McGeer, multimillionaire godfatherof the state’s drone industry, was heading home the other day from his office in the rain-swept Columbia River Gorge town of White Salmon when he picked up his cell phone and dialed a Seattle reporter. In an earlier e-mail exchange, the reporter had asked about the growth of drone manufacturing in Washington, and McGeer had written back, “Are you jumping on the hype bandwagon, or do you want to discuss reality?” 

The hype he referred to was the drone-phobia that hovers over any discussion of unmanned flying vehicles, from the small model-sized planes that buzz Seattle neighborhoods to the multi-ton aerial robots that are used in war and prowl Washington’s northern border. To McGeer’s dismay, the public doesn’t seem to like them much—the airborne snoops fly right up and peek through your window, don’t they?—even though civilian drone use is growing and the Pentagon is expanding its drone air force, including four bases in the Evergreen State.

Assured by the reporter that reality rocks, McGeer agrees to call. “I’ve got about a 20-minute drive,” said the 56-year-old Stanford aeronautical engineer, steering towards Hood River, Oregon, across the old two-lane toll bridge stretching three-quarters of a mile over the Columbia. He’s the pioneering entrepreneur behind the Washington-made unmanned aircraft systems—UAS, as they’re know in the industry—that linger over the desert and mountain terrain of Afghanistan in search of U.S. combat intelligence and terrorist targets. The 44-pound, gas-powered military drone he named the ScanEagle is also flown by a dozen other nations, and while most are used for war reconnaissance, some countries employ the ScanEagle for domestic security, as Japanese self-defense forces do, or to spy on drug cartels, as the Colombian military does. Read More 

Drones over Pendleton: Unmanned military craft plies civilian airspace

An Oregon Army National Guard reconnaissance drone on the flight line in a hanger in Pendleton is dwarfed by Guard spokesman Pat Caldwell and a combat-ready Chinook helicopter. The RQ7B Shadow drones are now based at the Guard's armory at the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport and will be used to train operators for combat missions abroad. RICHARD COCKLE

May 14, 2013
OregonLive by Richard Cockle

PENDLETON -- A 375-pound Oregon Army National Guard drone carrying a sophisticated camera was catapulted into the cobalt-blue eastern Oregon sky here Tuesday, in what Guard officials called the first-ever flight of an unmanned military aircraft through civilian airspace.

Until now, military drones have been confined to restricted airspace above U.S. military bases. The Guard expects to initially fly the four unmanned planes based here twice a month, and later expand the flights to once a week over the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport in Pendleton and wheat fields to the north, said Pat Caldwell, a Guard spokesman.

The brief flight of the Guard's RQ7B Shadow around the airport takes the Guard into potentially controversial territory.

Read More

Oregon Guard to conduct first drone flight

May 14, 2013
Shepard Media

Insitu Pacific has delivered the ScanEagle unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to its partner Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) of Japan in preparation for the system's evaluation by the Japanese Ground Self Defence Force (JGSDF).

Insitu Pacific announced in July 2012 that it had signed a contract to deliver the ScanEagle UAS to MHI for comprehensive operational evaluation by the JGSDF. The testing will take place over the coming 12 months.

JGSDF identified the need for a UAS to assess damage and provide vital real-time information for first responders to natural and man-made disasters in the wake of the country's 2011 earthquake and tsunami crisis. Insitu Pacific has worked closely with Sojitz Corporation and MHI, its partners in Japan, to deliver the ScanEagle UAS in support of this requirement. Read More

Drones Hit New Turf: U.S. Farmland

Ken Giles/UC Davis-  An unmanned aircraft able to spray insecticides flies over an experimental vineyard owned by the University of California, Davis in Oakville, Calif.

May 1, 2013
Wall Street Journal by Rachael King

Agricultural Groups Experiment With Unmanned Vehicles to Monitor Crops and Spray Pesticides

Farmers are starting to investigate the use of drones for a decidedly nonmilitary purpose: monitoring crops and spraying pesticides.

As the spring growing season unfolds, universities already are working with agricultural groups to experiment with different types of unmanned aircraft outfitted with sensors and other technologies to measure and protect crop health.

Oregon State University plans to use the unmanned vehicles to monitor the school's potato crop and those of a commercial potato grower. Both crops, located near Hermiston, Ore., are expected to sprout in coming weeks. The university last month ran its first test-flight.

Read More

LaserMotive Unveils World's 1st Aircraft System Powered by Laser Over Fiber Today at SPIE DS&S

April 29, 2013
sUAS News by Gary Mortimer

LaserMotive, an independent company specializing in delivering electric power via lasers, today unveiled InvisiTower, the world's first tethered vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft system powered by laser over optical fiber. The new, portable system can power any multi-rotor helicopter indefinitely using laser power sent via fiber optic cable, enabling aircraft to stay in the air as long as power is available on the ground. The first public flight of an aircraft powered by the new system will take place this week at the SPIE Defense, Security & Sensing (DS&S) tradeshow at the Baltimore Convention Center in technical demonstration booth T2 and booth #1970.

InvisiTower enables any helicopter to stay in the air as long as power is available on the ground. The system is compact and portable (small enough to fit in the back of an SUV) and does not require a pilot to fly – just someone to monitor the video coming from it.

Read More


Sagetech Delivers NextGen Technology for Satellite Constellation

April 22, 2013
Sagetech Corp. Press Release  

Sagetech Corporation delivered signal-processing receiver technology to Harris Corporation, GCS for satellite-based NextGen air traffic control. This technology will enable for the first time global tracking of aircraft flying over oceans and other remote areas.

Sagetech, an avionics company, provided Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) receiver technology to Harris Corporation, a communications company developing space-qualified ADS-B receivers for AireonSM. Aireon is establishing a satellite-based air traffic management system that will be hosted on the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation.  Read More

Read More

Oregon House passes bill regulating police drones

April 15, 2013
Oregonian by Christian Gaston

SALEM -- A bill regulating the use of drones for police work easily passed the Oregon House Monday, the first step toward establishing a broad statewide policy on the use of unmanned aircraft.

Rep. John Huffman, R-The Dalles, sponsored House Bill 2710, which outlines that police officers need to obtain a search warrant in order to use a drone to gather evidence, except for in emergencies. Huffman said Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, who was working on his own drone regulation, will focus on the measure passed by the House. Read More


UAS-maker partners for Brazilian market

April 11, 2013
sUAS News

U.S. unmanned aerial systems producer Insitu is teaming with Brazil's Santos Lab for manufacturing and marketing of its drones in the country.

The announcement of the partnership was made Tuesday at the LAAD defense and security exhibition in Brazil.

"Partnering with Santos Lab is the first step in establishing a local presence for technology transfer, which will enable Insitu's UAS business in Brazil to grow," said Insitu President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Morrow. Read More

Drone technology may help grow Eastern Oregon potatoes, minus the missiles

A 6-pound HawkEye remote-controlled aircraft will monitor potato fields during research trials beginning this spring.

April 9th, 2013
Oregon Live by Eric Mortenson

Agricultural researchers will begin testing two small, remote-controlled aircraft this month, flying them over potato fields in the Hermiston area in trials that may help farmers use water, fertilizer and pesticides more efficiently.            

Researchers believe the aircraft, equipped with sophisticated cameras that can zoom in on individual leaves, may increase crop yields and reduce costs as farmers spot and react to problems earlier. 

The trials beginning this spring will primarily involve irrigation and fertilizer issues. Researchers will artificially stress potato field sections at OSU's Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Hermiston, said Phill Hamm, the station director.

Read More


Unmanned Aircrafts Developed at UAF Get Huge Support from Alaska Lawmakers

April 7, 2013
Channel 2 News By Blake Essig

Alaska Lawmakers

With just a few weeks left in this legislative session, lawmakers in Juneau continue to focus on oil tax reform and declining revenues, but some lawmakers see the need diversify our state, seeing huge potential in unmanned aircrafts or drones.

"We need to be looking at other possibilities across the state," said Rep. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer. "It's expected that this industry will grow leaps and bounds in the next three years and it's important that Alaska get a piece of that pie."

Read More

Drones have useful applications for OSU

Rick SpinradVP for Research at OSU / Karl Maasdam

March 9th, 2013
Statesman Journal by Rick Spinrad - Guest Opinion

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), sometimes referred to as "drones," has been the focus of increased recent international attention. It also has captured attention in the Oregon Capitol with the introduction of House Bill 2710 and Senate Bill 524, which would set restrictions on the use of UAVs by law enforcement agencies, and Senate Bill 71, which would regulate the use of drones by private individuals and public agencies.           

Any legislative or public review of the use of UAVs should include a complete understanding that these aerial systems also have many domestic uses that are practical and benign, and should be embraced for their potential to save money and lives.

Read More

Piccolo Nano autopilot introduced for small UAVs

March 19, 2013
Shephard Media

UTC Aerospace Systems has released the Piccolo Nano autopilot, the newest and smallest addition to the Cloud Cap Technology Piccolo family of flight management systems. The autopilot has been developed to meet the requirements of small hand launched and uniquely configured UAVs.

Piccolo Nano provides a small, lightweight, flexible architecture to support the myriad of designs in small UAVs. It has been designed as an unenclosed, distributable autopilot system to provide maximum installation flexibility to the system integrator, particularly for small UAVs where the vehicle structure provides the enclosure and the autopilot components need to be distributed within the airframe's available space. Read More

Bill regulating drones dies in Wash. Legislature

March 17, 2013
KGW News by Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) -- Despite having support from Democrats, Republicans, civil liberties advocates and those concerned over government intrusion, a measure regulating the use and purchases of drones by state agencies and local municipalities died in Olympia without getting a vote.

The bill saw opposition from one of the most influential players in Olympia: The Boeing Co. The aerospace manufacturer, one of the largest employers in the state, argued the bill would hurt future jobs in the growing unmanned aerial vehicle industry. Read More

Oregon Company to Sell Drone Defense Technology to Public

March 15, 2013
US News by Jason Koebler

The company says it won't knock drones down, but will stop them from 'completing their mission'

Do you want to keep drones out of your backyard?

An Oregon company says that it has developed and will soon start selling technology that disables unmanned aircraft.

The company, called Domestic Drone Countermeasures, was founded in late February because some of its engineers see unmanned aerial vehicles—which are already being flown by law enforcement in some areas and could see wider commercial integration into American airspace by 2015—as unwanted eyes in the sky. Read More