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NOAA UAS Program Hosts National Tribal Interest Group for UAS Webinar

Tribal Interest Group for UAS Webinar Discusses Common Interests and the Warm Springs Tribes FAA UAS Test Site.

The NOAA UAS Program and DOI’s Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) co-hosted the quarterly meeting of the Tribal Interest Group for UAS on August 3rd. Several tribal and non-tribal representatives were were present and discussed current Native American UAS operations, future concepts of operations and STEM opportunities. NOAA’s Robbie Hood and John “JC” Coffey led the webinar from NOAA’s Headquarters.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is responsible for the administration and management of 55 million surface acres and 57 million acres of subsurface minerals estates held in trust by the United States for American Indian, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives. Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) provides education services to approximately 42,000 Indian students. 

The Tribal Interest Group for UAS discussed:

  1. Current Tribal UAS operations and support functions for those present
  2. Opportunities to share best practices and lessons learned in this domain
  3. Areas of interest from the Tribal communities and possible common missions
  4. STEM opportunities and paths forward

The Meeting Agenda 

  • Welcome & Introductions – JC Coffey – Cherokee Nation 
  • Briefing on the FAA UAS Test Range Manager for Warm Springs Tribes, OR – Liz Stalford Warm Springs Tribe, Oregon – FAA UAS Test Range Manager 
  • Wrap-Up an Closing Remarks – JC Coffey & Robbie Hood

Briefer: Liz Stalford is the FAA UAS Test Range Manager for Warm Springs, OR – University of Alaska, Fairbanks Pan Pacific Unmanned Test Range Complex. Group 3-5 UAS Wildland Firefighting integration and management of the Wildland Firefighting Center of Excellence. Large UAS project consultation, custom payload design and integration. Manage all phases of unmanned aircraft activity including Type Certification, FAA COA approvals, safety plans, operational procedures, test plan development, independent safety reviews, emergency management, and business development. Responsible for development and maintenance of the Test Range budget. Frequency management support. 

Many thanks to Volker for the UAV Images of Grand Ronde which can be found at:,45.0435,-123.5265,45.1053

Fig 1.