–SOAR Oregon, a statewide nonprofit based in Bend that fosters growth in the state’s rapidly evolving Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) industry, today opened a new, 9,600 square-foot hangar at Pendleton’s UAS Range (PUR), which will be officially opened at a ribbon-cutting on Saturday, June 10.
In November of 2016, Modern Technology Solutions, Inc. (MTSI) partnered with SOAR Oregon on the flight test project for Vahana, an electric, self-piloted vehicle being developed by A³, the advanced projects and partnerships outpost of Airbus in Silicon Valley. As a result of this partnership, Vahana will be the first occupant of the new hangar located at the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport.
“From nearly a dozen sites across the western United States that we evaluated, the Pendleton UAS Test Range quickly stood out as a premier test location for our unique test program,” said Jeff Mabry, MTSI Flight Test Lead, Vahana. “We look forward to continued support from PUR and SOAR Oregon as we move toward a successful demonstration.”
U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, who is a strong supporter of Oregon’s drone industry, is scheduled to attend the June 10 event. To support Vahana, the Pendleton range will house a Mobile Command Center, which will be on display from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 10.
“As our project matures to the stage of full-scale test flights, it’s essential that we have trusted and committed partners in place to ensure Vahana’s safety and reliability are tested and proven,” said Zach Lovering, Project Executive for Vahana. “Through our work with MTSI, we’ve been fortunate enough to benefit from the commitment of SOAR Oregon, as well as the teams that made this new hangar such an appropriate test range for our work.”
Oregon’s ranges operate under the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex (PPUTRC), which is administered by the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF). UAF, in partnership with Oregon and Hawaii, was awarded one of the original six FAA-approved test sites.
SOAR Oregon is a 501(c)(6), state-funded nonprofit initiative through the Oregon Business Development Department and the Oregon Innovation Council nonprofit established to foster growth in Oregon’s rapidly evolving Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) industry. Since the spring of 2014, SOAR Oregon has awarded $327,000 in grants for Oregon-based UAS projects and facilitated an additional $1 million in private industry investment. SOAR Oregon also supports ongoing research projects by promoting Oregon’s three FAA-designated UAS Test ranges in Tillamook, Pendleton and Warm Springs and facilitates public-private partnerships between education and industry.
For more information, visit soaroregon.com.