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
TFNW profiles: Rick Turoczy (TFNW curator, PIE PDX), Tyson Evans (NYTimes), Ward Cuningham (Wiki Inventor), Michelle Rowley (Code Scouts), Jackson Gariety (TechStars, teen entrepreneur)
TFNW features: MFNW Installation by Instrument, PDX Drone Challenge, Google Gogglers
Tickets and official site: techfestnw.com
GO: The PDX Drone Challenge is Sunday, Sept. 8, at Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, 1945 SE Water Ave., 797-4000, omsi.edu. 11 am-3 pm. Free tickets available at tito.io/pdxdrones.