Energy Department Lab Takes Flight at Oregon UAS Test Site

Pendleton UAS Range (PUR), the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and ArgenTech Solutions (AgTS) recently conducted unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations above the fields of Pendleton, Ore.

The flights were conducted in support of PNNL aircrew currency and science sensor testing to augment upcoming research and atmospheric testing campaigns.

Headquartered in Richland, Wash., PNNL is one of 10 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories managed by the DOE’s Office of Science. PNNL says its research aims to find solutions for not only the DOE, but also for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the National Nuclear Security Administration and other government agencies, universities, and industry stakeholders.

The team used the 1.5-lb. DataHawk UAS, developed by University of Colorado at Boulder and based on the Stryker F-27C model aircraft with a foam airframe with electric propulsion.

“It is great to finally get into the air with these aircraft,” comments Mike Hubbell, director of flight operations for PNNL. “This is the first of many trips to the PUR that will enhance our ability to gather scientific data with UAS. The City of Pendleton and AgTS have provided the ideal operational area for us to complete our current and future missions.”

A PUR representative from technical services company AgTS provided range safety and process compliance throughout operations.

“This is a great opportunity to ultimately incorporate the safe integration of manned and unmanned aircraft operations into long-term PNNL training and testing objectives, and we are happy to be assisting with this project,” says Jen Armstrong, vice president of commercial services at AgTS.

The Pendleton UAS Range is part of the Alaskan-led Pan-Pacific test site, one of the six Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-designated UAS test sites.

Flight operations were conducted in Class G airspace under visual meteorological conditions, at or below 400 feet in altitude, and during daylight hours. Multiple flights were conducted daily above unpopulated areas and in accordance with FAA regulations.


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