Open house to Offer Cal UAS Glimpse


    Technical wizardry and family fun await people on Saturday, Nov. 16 at Inyokern Airport's Cal UAS Day event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A full day of events, food and vendors are all scheduled, along with visits from local and state dignitaries. The event offers a first-hand glimpse into what Cal UAS Portal is doing in the realm of unmanned aircraft systems - an industry poised to set off a storm of economic and technological innovation. "Cal UAS Day is the culmination of everything that this whole valley is about," Eileen Shibley, Cal UAS Portal's team leader, said on Friday. "It's about technology, a future focus, and bringing together people to see what synergies are there by looking at different parts of the same problem." Shibley said plenty of activities are set up for people in the Indian Wells Valley to take a glimpse at what the airport and the Cal UAS Portal are doing. Both manned and unmanned demonstrations are planned, as well as lectures and vendors.

    Among the attractions are guest speakers like record breaking pilot Chip Yates, flight demonstrations by the Desert Ravens led by local pilot Axel Alvarez, and Tim Dawson, a local unmanned systems developer.

    "We will have several demos of different types of UAVs," Shibley said.

    Jeff Parisse from Parisse Aviation will also be present, Shibley said. Parisse Aviation specializes in agriculture mapping and photography, tactical security and high-definition filmmaking.

    "Parisse is essentially the agricultural arm of Cal UAS," Shibley said.

    Shibley added that the "ramp will be full" as far as the number of vendors setting up shop at Inyokern Airport that day.

    "We've got tons and tons of stuff that will be out on the ramp at the airport," Shibley said. "Specifically, we've got several companies coming in that will have booths or tables. The hanger is already full and we are starting to put people outside."

    Shibley said that some vendors and groups are coming from the East Coast, while Cal UAS Portal's San Diego partners will have a presence as well.

    "We have (aerospace) industry coming in from Northern and Southern California that are all in the field of unmanned systems work," Shibley said.

    She added that academia will be present as well, including San Diego State University, Cal Poly Pomona, and UCA Berkeley "to help augment the event."

    At the Kids Corner, Shibley said that bounce houses and obstacle courses will be available for the youth, as well as hands-on engineering tasks for middle-school aged kids.

    Shibley said the event will be huge for not only Cal UAS Portal, but for Inyokern Airport as well.

    She said that it will be a great opportunity for the airport to showcase what it has to offer to the community.

    "Many people living here have never been out to the airport and it is kind of amazing all that is out there," Shibley said.

    "The airport has made the decision to diversify how it does things," Shibley said. "It will keep its core, which is supporting general aviation, the gliders and the soaring clubs. None of that will change."

    She said Cal UAS Portal will be an addition to the airport and will make sure not to interfere with its mission.

    "We want that general aviation to continue to be there, because I think they're good for us and we're good for it," Shibley said.

    Cal UAS Portal, unlike applicants in other states, has had to hit the pavement looking for donations to get to where it is today. Sponsorships from businesses, donations from private individuals and housing by the Inyokern Airport have all made it possible, Shibley said.

    "Every step of the way, I think we have learned huge lessons that I'm not sure we would have learned if we would have had a whole lot of money thrown at us," Shibley said.

    Shibley said that while Cal UAS Portal is "resource poor," it continues to make things happen.

    "The way that is possible is because business knows that there is something there," Shibley said. "We've said before that Cal UAS's endeavor will succeed because business wants it to, and because there is a core team of people behind it that knows what to do with it."