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Oregon, Hawaii, Alaska Team Up On Drone-Testing Proposal

OPB | April 8, 2013 3:53 p.m. | Updated: April 8, 2013 5:25 p.m. | Bend, OR

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A local consortium that hopes to establish Oregon as a testing center for unmanned aerial vehicles is combining its efforts with groups from Alaska and Hawaii.

The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to designate six drone-testing sites by the end of the year.  The three Pacific partners hope their combined attributes will help their application stand out.

The Pan-Pacific proposal would have test ranges in all three states, representing a variety of environments ranging from extreme heat to extreme cold.

Eric Simpkins heads up the team here in Oregon.  He says each state brings its own strengths to the partnership.

He says Alaska, for example, has been doing UAV research for more than a decade.

“What Alaska didn’t have was a significant amount of unmanned aircraft system industry.  Which is what Oregon really brings to the table.”

Simpkins says more than 50 groups from 37 states have made proposals.  The FAA is expected to pick just six of those by the end of the year.

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