PENDLETON – The Pendleton UAS Test Range has grown faster than its creators imagined. Range Manager Darryl Abling said that there were no operations performed at the range 2013, the year it was approved by the FAA, and 2014. Then there were five operations in 2015, and the growth began.
Last year, there were more than 2,500 operations at the range.
“For 2021 to date, we’re just under 5,000 operations,” Abling said. “We expect it will hit 10,000 by the end of the year.”
Hangars have been built to accommodate companies wanting to test their drones. Infrastructure for more hangars has been constructed. A hotel is being built at the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport. Courses in the UAS industry are being taught. Abling said it’s all possible because of the commitment by the city.
“The city has always been behind the test range with support and I think we have really shown that the vision that they had several years ago has really paid off,” he said.