News & Media

News & Media

Warm Springs Test Range Expands Operations

Tags: , , , News & Media, Warm Springs UAS
featured image


Media Contact:
Liz Stalford, Warm Springs Test Range Manager, 480-205-6644, [email protected]

Warm Springs FAA UAS Test Range Expands Operations to Prineville and Madras

June 30, 2017 – Warm Springs, Ore. – The Warm Springs FAA UAS Test Range, a member of the Pan Pacific UAS Test Range Complex (PPUTRC), is expanding its operations to Prineville and Madras Airports to support Oregon’s rapid UAS industry growth.

“The expansion project will allow Warm Springs to support Unmanned Aircraft Systems clients who require an airport for launch and recovery as well as having certified maintenance facilities readily available,” said Liz Stalford, Warm Springs FAA Test Range Manager.

Madras Municipal Airport and Prineville Airport offer full-length runways, hangars, conference space and pilot lounges. Clients who partner with Warm Springs UAS Test Range will get expanded access without the need to coordinate and gain approvals for multiple test sites. Designated Airworthiness Representatives are also available at these locations for type certification projects.

“We are excited to offer support for the Warm Springs UAS Test Range clients. The Warm Springs Test Range crew has the knowledge and expertise to ensure the safe integration of unmanned aircraft into our airspace and we look forward to the positive impact this will have on our community,” said Rob Berg, Madras Airport Manager.

“As Prineville continues to expand with its innovative business residents like Apple and Facebook, we look forward to supporting the Warm Springs UAS Test Range unmanned aircraft industry,” said Steve Forrester, Prineville City Manager. Kelly Coffelt, Prineville Airport Manager reports, “Our airport, only 25 minutes from Bend, provides the ideal proving ground for UAS type certification projects.”


About Warm Springs FAA UAS Test Range
The Warm Springs UAS Test Range is a key testing facility for the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex, one of only six official FAA UAS test sites in the United States and is the only site owned and operated by a Native American tribe on tribal land. Located on the high desert of Central Oregon, the Warm Springs UAS Test Range provides both startups and established industry giants the easy access, expansive terrain, blue skies, seclusion and after-hours entertainment necessary for a successful test.

Conference Postponed

Tags: , , , , , , News & Media


The Drones & Public Safety Conference has been postponed. It was scheduled to be held at Kah-nee-ta Resort & Spa in Warm Springs, Oregon on May 24 and 25th and will be rescheduled to a later date to be determined.

“We have decided to postpone the Drones & Public Safety Conference due to the close proximity to the AUVSI conference. I can’t thank you enough for your willingness to support our efforts and sincerely hope you will be able to participate when we reschedule. We will contact you with a future date as soon as we can narrow it down. Thank you again for all your support and patience.”

Liz Stalford – Warm Springs UAS Test Range Manager

Click here for more information

WS UAS Training Center Groundbreaking

Tags: , , , News & Media
Warm Springs Tribal Council and Warm Springs Ventures groundbreaking

Left to right: Keeyonna Yellowman, Miss Warm Springs, Lee Tom-Tribal Council member, Valerie Switzler-Tribal Council member, Aurolyn Stwyer-WSV/UAS, Roy Sampel WSV Board Chair

The remodel for the UAS training center has begun at Kah-nee-ta Resort. The groundbreaking took place on July 7, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. with many interested tribal members, Tribal Council, and the Warm Springs Ventures Board Chair.

Oregon’s First FAA sanctioned flight of Unmanned Aircraft

News & Media
featured image

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ~ Eagle Tech Systems, a subsidiary of Warm Springs Ventures, an enterprise of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs announce flight operations for unmanned aerial vehicles

The first customers approved under the University of Alaska Flight Test Site National Certificate of Authorization to fly at an Oregon Test Range are the University of Alaska, Aeromapper UAV.  Also the ArrowData’s Aerialtronics UAV.

By Aurolyn Stwyer February 24, 2016

Warm Springs, OR – Tribally owned Eagle Tech Systems announced today that the first launch of unmanned aerial vehicles has occurred at the Metolius Bench occupational site.

The Warm Springs Unmanned Aerial Systems Test Range is part of the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex, led by the University of Alaska, one of the six nationally recognized FAA-designated UAS Test Sites.  It makes sense for the University of Alaska to be the first client for the Warm Springs UAS Test Range.

The Aeromapper drone is ideal for surveying large sized areas for forestry, wildlife monitoring, geophysical surveys, and topography, among other uses.  The maximum takeoff weight is about 10 pounds and the wing span is 6 ½ feet long.  It has a Sony 24 mp camera and a survey grade wide 15 mm lens with adaptor.

It also makes sense for ArrowData, too, because it is an enterprise which is owned by the Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation, an Alaska Native Corporation that is headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska. 

The Aerialtronics drone is used for precision agriculture reports.  The model is called the Altura Zenith, it is actually an octo-copter. The maximum takeoff weight is 14 pounds. It has the MicaSense multispectral camera for agriculture along with a cinema grade video camera and a high resolution still camera. 

Friday’s Media Day provided everyone with an up close look at the drones.  Those in attendance included tribal leaders, and the organizations who provided financial support for the Test Range, Business Oregon and SOAR Oregon.

“It’s going to be exciting to see the flights,” said Evaline Patt, vice chairwoman of the Warm Springs Tribal Council.  Patt said she’s looking forward to the potential for drones to help with forest fire management and local farming operations.

“We have four active clients at our range and we’re in conversation with an additional dozen potential clients including one with an international presence”, said Roy Sampsel, Chairman, Ventures Board of Directors.  “We are excited about the opportunity to be on the ground floor with this UAV technology,” said former Governor Ted Kulongoski, member of the Warm Springs Ventures Board of Directors.

“Oregon has been given an opportunity to play a leadership role in the creation of an emerging industry. We should use all the tools at our disposal to advance this technology.  Our three Oregon test ranges are uniquely situated to facilitate the continued growth of Unmanned Aerial Systems for the foreseeable future.” said Senator Betsy Johnson.

To learn more, please contact

Aurolyn Stwyer, Business Development and Marketing Manager
4202 Holliday Street, Suite 1, Warm Springs, OR 97761
Office: (541) 553-3565
[email protected]

Eagle Tech First Flight

News & Media
featured image

Eagle Tech Systems, a subsidiary of Warm Springs Ventures, an enterprise of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs announce a first flight at the Metolius Bench Unmanned Aerial Systems Operational Site

The first customers approved under the University of Alaska Flight Test Site National Certificate of Authorization to fly at an Oregon Test Range are the University of Alaska, Aeromapper unmanned aerial vehicle.

February 11, 2016

Warm Springs, OR – Tribally owned Eagle Tech Systems announced today that the first launch of unmanned aerial vehicles will take place on Friday, February 19, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. at the Metolius Bench Operational site.  Light refreshments and a cake will be served to celebrate the inaugural flight.  Cell telephones and cameras are allowed for use at the event.

We are in a unique position in the growing unmanned aerial systems industry.  We are one of 12 Test Ranges approved by the FAA in the United States and we are one of three in Oregon, along with Tillamook and Pendleton.  Our partner VDOS Global is authorized by the University of Alaska to process flight authorization within a two-week timeline, in comparison to six to nine months for approval by the FAA.  Our mission is to provide services for our clients to Fly faster, Fly safer, and Fly smarter.

The Warm Springs UAS Test Range offers a turn-key testing environment for flight authorization, flight testing, evaluation, and a training center that will be located at the Kah-Nee-Ta Lodge and resort.

As a sovereign nation, we offer ease of services at our test ranges.  For example, we have the ability to have controlled burns without having to get certifications or approvals with any outside entity.  We are focused on becoming a Center of Excellence for wildland fire management.  Also, there is a de-energized power transmission line that will also be available for tests for that particular industry.  The third market is natural resource management.

The weather forecast is favorable for the flight testing by the University of Alaska’s “Aeromapper” UAV.

COCC’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Program Has Taken Flight

News & Media


We view the reality of drones depending on how the media portrays their varying uses: from super-secret, government-funded stealthy military crafts, to small, radio-controlled units purchased online that can be operated with only minutes of instruction. Even Amazon wants to grab a part of the air space action by delivering lightweight packages through this method. Yet, the application of this technology is much more far-reaching.

Though commonly known as drones, the term unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is preferred by COCC’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Degree Program. With graduates possibly completing the program as early as Spring term of 2015, the program prepares students to become professionals in the world of remotely piloted aircraft. While many programs are engineering and design based, COCC’s UAS program focuses on operating the vehicles. Students will also learn UAS mission planning and execution, troubleshooting, maintenance and equipment testing.

The two-year program is not meant to train operators of recreational drones you may see flying below 400 feet and in sight of the user. This intensive two-year program was borne from COCC’s Aviation program and prepares graduates for the broadest spectrum of employment.

“The UAS Degree program is a natural extension of our aviation program,” says Karl Baldessari, aviation program director. “The program will teach professional, licensed operation of UAS. Our job is to prepare students for employment. Commercial applications are extensive.”

Though Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations are still pending, COCC is teaching the UAS program as though UAS operators are required to be a certified pilot. This fundamental training allows students exposure to the aviation environment, communication, equipment and commercial airspace — all focusing on safety in the skies. Central Oregon’s diversity of terrain and elevation is well-suited for training purposes.

The next level of training is UAS simulation. The software in the COCC simulator is designed by Insitu, Inc., which is based in Hood River, OR. Insitu is on the cutting edge of the UAS industry. Insitu has been researching, developing and manufacturing UAS for more than 10 years. Partnering with a leader in the UAS industry lends credibility and creates opportunity for the COCC program.

Kevin Sivertson, Insitu veteran and part-time instructor, is breaking new ground for COCC by translating his experience as a UAS operator to a classroom environment. Sivertson, who holds a master’s in education, credits his military knowledge for being recruited by Insitu, Inc., where he trained and operated UAS in support of international government contracts.

“With the evolution of FAA regulations, the ‘Wild West’ of unmanned aviation is coming to an end,” says Sivertson. “Especially in controlled air space, safety is paramount.”

Oregon is one of only six locations to have already received FAA approval to create and operate test sites. COCC is working closely with the site in Warm Springs in development of a capstone course that will to allow students to have actual experience with launch and recovery of UAS. Currently only three industries are approved by the FAA for commercial use of UAS:  the motion picture industry, realtors in specific states and precision agriculture. Potential future employment includes:  search and rescue, wild land firefighting, aerial photography, research, monitoring, surveying, farming, damage assessment after a storm and many other applications.

“Although it’s too early to tell, COCC is hopeful the local community will benefit from the availability of this unique training and education.” says Theresa Freihoefer, department chair. “If we can help create jobs or draw industry to Central Oregon, the program will have exceeded our vision.”

The program has already proven that through time, effort and collaboration, it can make connections with the community and partnership within the industry, allowing for a stronger program which ultimately leads to students’ increased preparedness for employment.

“With how quickly technology changes, there is no way you can work in a vacuum and remain on the cutting edge,” says Baldessari.

Contact Karl Baldessari, aviation program coordinator at [email protected] or go to to learn more about this exciting program.