Military drone to fly over Oregon

Military drone to fly over Oregon
An Oregon Army National Guard RQ-7 Shadow lands at the Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility (NWSTF) in Boardman, Ore., following a demonstration flight on June 19, 2012. The Oregon Army National Guard's Bravo Co., 41 Brigade Special Troops Battalion, operates the Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), which is the first of its kind for a National Guard unit in the United States. (Photo by Sgt. Jason Van Mourik, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)

PENDLETON, Ore. – A military drone will fly over the Pendleton area Tuesday afternoon.

Oregon National Guard soldiers are scheduled to pilot the drone. It will be the first unmanned training flight for a National Guard unit in U.S. airspace, a spokesman said.

The RQ-7 Shadow will take off from the Army Aviation Support Facility outside of Pendleton at 1 p.m.

The Oregon National Guard says Pendleton’s climate and topography make it well-suited for flying unmanned aircraft. Lt. Col. Alan R. Gronewold said the Oregon National Guard will conduct the flight safely and responsibly.

"The Oregon Army National Guard defends the constitution of the United States and the Constitutional rights of its citizens. We do not conduct surveillance on U.S. citizens," Gronewold said in a news release.

The Federal Aviation Administration approved the flights near Pendleton. The drone will not fly over the city, according to Staff Sgt. Pat Caldwell.

The National Guard says drones like the RQ-7 Shadow serve as the eyes and ears of commanders on the ground. The military touts the fact they can conduct surveillance without putting soldiers in harm's way.

Tuesday's flight is expected to last approximately one hour, Caldwell said. The RQ-7 Shadow can fly for up to five hours.

The National Guard will continue to use the facility for flight training.