Whatever you've heard on the news about Iran or Pakistan, Oregon is ground zero for drones.
Meanwhile, the city of Pendleton is promoting itself as a military drone test site, which prompted talk in the state legislature about banning drones from the skies; a new law passed in June will require warrants for drone surveillance by law agencies. An Oregon company called Domestic Drone Countermeasures plans to sell black boxes that would interfere with aerial spies.
But forget money or politics: We prefer spectacle. On Sunday, Sept. 8, in the OMSI parking lotâas part of TechfestNWâPDXDrones and tech-company Dialsmith will host an event called the PDXDrones Challenge for anybody who just wants to watch drones go really, really fast. Itâs sort of like radio-controlled helicopter races on steroids, with 10 drone pilots slated to compete in an obstacle course called the Drone Cage.
A drone enthusiast group called the Roswell Flight Test Crew will also be assembling a drone onsite before the competitionâin a single hour. After the high-speed drone war, the pilots will demo the drones just for funsies.
Donât expect the drones near MusicFest events, however. For some reason or another, you arenât allowed to fly these things over large groups of people. Which is where all similarity to my dive-bombing, eyesight-threatening, grade-school RC helicopter pretty much ends.
Tickets and official site: techfestnw.com