McMinnville, OR: With FAA’s Terry Wilmeth and Rich Davis along with University of Alaska Fairbanks representatives Jimmy Parrish, Tom Elmer and Nick Adkins, Northwest UAV’s Flight, Analysis, and System Test (FAST) UAV Range completed its inaugural flight Wednesday, September 4th . The
Certificate of Authorization (COA) obtained by the University of Alaska Fairbanks allows Northwest UAV to operate its own test range under the Pan-Pacific UAS Complex. The range facilitates flights up to 4,000 feet in a 5 nautical mile radius of airspace just 12 miles south of NWUAV’s main campus, which offers a variety of UAV products and services.
The FAST Range inaugural flight was performed Wednesday, September 4 th by Tim Klein of Klein Engineering, who flew a DJI Phantom Drone for the day but traditionally designs and builds hexrotors to complete power line and log line pulling, as well as offers a variety of UAV mapping and photography services in the Willamette Valley. The DJI Drone flew over 500 feet in a 1 nautical mile radius of airspace while Northwest UAV FSO David Jackson monitored the flight from the ground.
“We’re excited to offer the opportunity to legally fly drones just minutes from our main campus,” said David Jackson.
“As a licensed private and unmanned vehicle pilot, I’m keenly aware of FAA regulations and the risks involved in any airspace (and around it). With this inaugural flight we demonstrated our commitment to safety, as well as the untapped potential of a UAV Range in the Willamette Valley.”
The COA granted to the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration (UAF’s ACUASI) makes it possible for Northwest UAV to support the growing UAV industry in Oregon. With the Portland International Airport just over an hour away and the growing number of UAV companies and drone enthusiasts settling in the Willamette Valley, NWUAV’s FAST Range is set to considerably accelerate the drone industry in Oregon.
“We’re offering the UAV industry a one-stop-shop operation,” said President and Owner of NWUAV, Chris Harris. “With our full-service campus, our customers are able to integrate payloads, cameras, engines, autopilots, transponders and servos right into their new or existing aircraft and then test fly at our FAA UAS Test Range just a few miles down the road. Our goal is to have a facility where new or existing customers could utilize our capabilities to support their project. This eliminates their need to build up the capability internally or organically, which can be extremely expensive and time-consuming.”
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.
As Northwest UAV looks to complete construction of an additional 30,000 sq. ft of space on their main campus, NWUAV’s long-term strategy to be the first one-stop-shop for the UAV industry is in sight.
Beyond the new FAST Range, NWUAV provides customers with a dedicated machine shop, 3D printing operation, aero/mechanical/electrical engineering services, wire harness production, technical writers and a fully capable AS9100 production facility. Once the new facilities are complete, NWUAV will also offer up to 15,000 sq./ft of professional and production/warehouse space dedicated solely for customer use. A facility in which all aspects of design, manufacture, ground and flight testing of UAVs will be a game-changer for NWUAV customers as well as the UAV industry.
Anyone interested in using the FAST UAV Range is encouraged to contact David Jackson (503.434.6845 x185) for a flight application. Anyone interested in using other NWUAV services is encouraged to review the NWUAV capabilities brochure or visit the NWUAV website. Anyone with questions about the Pan Pacific Test Range Complex is encouraged to contact Jimmy Parrish with the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
In attendance to witness the inaugural flight from left to right:
Joe Gibbs, David Jackson, Tim Klein, Rich Davis, Terry Wilmeth, Heather Sorenson, Nick Adkins, Heather Peck, Tom Elmer, Chris Harris. UAF photo by James Parrish.