U.S. Dept. of Energy’s ArcticShark flight testing underway at Pendleton UAS Range in Oregon

PENDLETON, Ore. The ArcticShark unmanned aircraft system (UAS), designed to collect sophisticated atmospheric data in the Arctic starting in 2018, is undergoing flight testing at the newly developed Pendleton UAS Range (PUR) in Pendleton, Oregon.

U.S. Dept. of Energy’s ArcticShark flight testing underway at Pendleton UAS Range in Oregon
U.S. Dept. of Energy’s ArcticShark flight testing underway at Pendleton UAS Range in Oregon

PENDLETON, Ore. The ArcticShark unmanned aircraft system (UAS), designed to collect sophisticated atmospheric data in the Arctic starting in 2018, is undergoing flight testing at the newly developed Pendleton UAS Range (PUR) in Pendleton, Oregon.

Flight testing and pilot training of the ArcticShark at PUR is expected to take place almost daily through March 17. The UAS is scheduled to begin field research in Alaska starting in 2018. The ArcticShark is owned by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and managed by the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility, a DOE national scientific user facility. With a wingspan of 22 feet and a gross takeoff weight of 625 pounds, the ArcticShark UAS can fly up to 15,000 feet and has a maximum speed of 75 miles per hour.

ArcticShark will eventually be equipped with more than a dozen different instruments designed to record the most sophisticated measurements ever gathered about Earth’s atmosphere and help scientists better understand one of the most sensitive regions of the planet, officials say.

Officials at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Wash., ArgenTech Solutions (AgTS), PUR, and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks collaborated to obtain Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight approvals and to build the concept of operations for ArcticShark.

U.S. Dept. of Energy’s ArcticShark flight testing underway at Pendleton UAS Range in OregonU.S. Dept. of Energy’s ArcticShark flight testing underway at Pendleton UAS Range in Oregon

SOAR Oregon announces ArcticShark -- a new unmanned aerial system designed to collect the world’s most sophisticated atmospheric data in the Arctic -- will undergo flight testing at Pendleton UAS Range in Oregon. (Photo: Business Wire)

“We are paving the way for the evolving integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems into the National Airspace System (NAS) and we’re pleased to be assisting in those test objectives,” says Jen Armstrong, vice president AgTS Commercial Services.

“The City of Pendleton and the State of Oregon have invested a tremendous amount of time and resources toward developing a premier UAS test range in eastern Oregon,” adds Steve Chrisman, economic development director and airport manager for the city of Pendleton. “PNNL was the first organization to approach us about using the range, so it’s nice to see everyone’s hard work come to fruition. This is really just the beginning of a new age in aviation.”

“As Oregon’s UAS industry facilitator, we’re pleased that the DOE has selected our Pendleton range to conduct testing on a UAS that will help scientists around the world to understand our planet more fully,” explains Earl Bowerman, executive director of SOAR. “One of the most exciting aspects of UAS research and development is its potential to help solve our most critical global challenges.”

Oregon’s ranges operate under the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex (PPUTRC), which is administered by the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

Pur

What is the Pendleton UAS Test Range (PUR)?
PUR is an FAA-Designated Test Range, offering turnkey UAS flight test support, outstanding weather, diverse testing environments, and superb logistical support for commercial drone developers, educational institutions, and public agencies.

What is SOAR?
SOAR Oregon is a 501(c)(6), state-funded, 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.

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