Drone range covers several hundred miles

NASA's Global Hawk pilotless aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday that six states will develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the march of the unmanned aircraft into U.S. skies.Northeastern Oregon’s drone testing range will encompass the city of Pendleton and several hundred square miles of land southeast of town.

The Federal Aviation Administration approved the University of Alaska’s application Monday to be one of six testing entities for commercial unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones. The university will coordinate drone testing on at least a dozen ranges in Oregon, Hawaii and Alaska — including the one in Pendleton.

The Federal Aviation Administration does not allow drones’ commercial use, so the ranges will give more private companies the ability to test and develop their products.

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