PENDLETON -- Developers of a test range in Eastern Oregon for the unmanned aerial vehicles known as drones have conducted their first flights, but high winds ended them early.
The East Oregonian reported that the tests were conducted Tuesday above a field north of Pendleton. The developers expect commercial drone users to use a test range near the local airport as well as off-site locations.
The four-propeller drone was to scan a small barbecue grill for heat signatures -- a test of its ability to pinpoint hot spots in wildfires.
Pilot Brian Prange said the winds at flight level were running about 29 mph with gusts to almost 35 mph, at the limits of the drone's ability to get through the headwinds.
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The site is among those in Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii approved by the federal government last year.