The Federal Aviation Administration will soon allow the testing of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, in the skies above Oregon. On Monday, the FAA announced it had selected a joint proposal from Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii to be among six newly designated drone testing sites across the US.
In Oregon, the consortium plans to operate test ranges near Pendleton, Tillamook and Warm Springs. Congress is requiring the FAA to integrate drones into the national airspace by 2015. Oregon, along with the other sites, will play a role in making sure that’s done safely, said Rick Spinrad.
He’s vice president for research at Oregon State University, one of the partners in the consortium.
“You may have seen the 60 Minutes piece Amazon.com delivering your new razor on a unmanned aerial system right to your front door. Well, the technology may be there, but the controls, the regulations, to do that - what, when, how to fly - are going to have to be tested,” Spinrad said.
Spinrad said he’s hoping the FAA will clear the first flights for take-off this spring, if not sooner.