National Guard could launch drones at Pendleton airport

The National Guard in Pendleton could soon launch unmanned air vehicles soon out of the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport to train its 23-troop platoon.

City officials are optimistic the high-tech industry could bring jobs to Pendleton and fill properties on airport land.

The Oregon Army National Guard says the guard is waiting for Federal Aviation Administration approval to fly the aircraft -- commonly known as drones or UAVs -- at the airport.

Operating drones from the airport would not be restricted to Guard use.

Oregon Fish and Wildlife commissioner Carter Kerns says his agency and others could fly UAVs out of the airport to spot fires, track salmon migration, locate lost hunters and hikers and gather crop moisture information.