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Portland startup wants to help you navigate the drone frontier

How long before drones start filling the skies above Portland?

Jonathan Evans thinks we're probably only a few years away.

"I would say that within five years you'd see integrated aero-robotics moving in and out of the city in a way that you'll start to ignore," Evans said.

Evans is the CEO of Skyward, a Portland startup that provides cloud-based tools like flight maps and logs for professional drone operators.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires commercial drone operators to file a flight plan, which Skyward can also help you do digitally.

But even if you're just an amateur drone enthusiast, Evans said you ought to be checking flight maps to make sure you're not crossing into restricted airspace.

And though hobbyists aren't required to file a flight plan, Evans said giving other pilots in the area a heads-up with where and what you're flying helps avoid mid-air collisions.

"They just want to know that you're going to be taking shots over here on the Sandy River," Evans said. "So that when they have Cessnas coming in to do a pattern they can tell them, 'hey, watch out, there's a drone 200 feet and below on the Sandy River over there.'"

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