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Northwest UAV  

McMinnville,  OR 
United States
  • Booth: 1021

Visit NWUAV booth #1021 - America's first One-Stop-UAV Shop

As America’s leader in UAV propulsion system design and manufacturing, Northwest UAV is leading the way yet again, as America’s first one-stop-UAV Shop. With a reputation for reliable, cost effective, innovative UAV engine and support system solutions, NWUAV has developed into a company with the ability to design, manufacture, build-to-print, repair, ground test and flight test UAVs in their FAA designated airspace. Founded in 2005 by President and Owner Chris Harris, NWUAV continues to safely and effectively manage all aspects of product development, from initial concept design through production and flight testing and beyond to maintenance and overhauls. When reliability is key, count on the team at NWUAV. AS9100/ISO9001 Certified.

 Press Releases

  • October 9, 2019 | McMinnville, OR: The Northwest UAV NW-44 Heavy-Fuel Engine has reached the noteworthy milestone of logging over 21,000 operational hours. With an innovative design that focuses on maintainability, Northwest UAV’s NW-44 UAV Engine has developed a reputation for being the UAV industry’s reliable, cost effective propulsion solution. 

    Purpose-built for small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) that require high reliability and easy maintainability, the NW-44 Engine (pictured on a test stand with a new muffler design) is a lightweight, multi-fuel UAV engine. The NW-44 is a complete turn-key engine system designed to be a COTS solution for Tier II UAVs (40-75 lbs). Its innovative design virtually eliminates development costs, saving customers millions of dollars and several years stuck in the engineering development cycle. The milestone of 21,000 operational hours clearly speaks to the NW-44 Engine’s reliability, and in a less apparent way, its maintainability.  

    “Traditionally, engines for the Tier II UAV weight class are built to be throw-away engines,” said Jeff Ratcliffe, Chief Technical Officer of NWUAV. “That means they are not likely designed and built for 10-15-hour days at 45c (like the NW-44 Engine), rather they’re built for a few hours at the local airfield – on a nice day. While we understand why OEM’s initially use low-cost foreign-made engines from the hobby market – it can be a risky and potentially more expensive undertaking for the needs of professional unmanned systems today.” 

    “As the industry matures, COMPLETE traceability has become as critical to the engines as the parts themselves,” Ratcliffe continued. “Sophisticated customers will expect to know every aspect – who, what, where and how – of every component of the engines, as well as what it experienced prior to delivery. Simply put, untraceable components make the lifespan and containment of faulty components unpredictable and unmanageable. That is why the NW-44 is American Made, we control the quality and traceability of our parts. Relying on China, Taiwan or Korea in your supply chain is not a sustainable strategy for today’s customers.”

    While the milestone of 21,000 operational hours clearly speaks to the maturity of the engine, NWUAV consistently looks for ways to continue to improve the engine and reduce maintenance requirements, with the end goal to be as bulletproof as possible in theater. “After 21,000 hours it’s pretty apparent what can and will go wrong. Not just on the engine system itself, but also with how the engine is being operated and maintained in very harsh environments with limited resources. This extensive insight can’t be duplicated in a test cell,” said Chris Harris, President and Owner of Northwest UAV. 

    As a result of the feedback NWUAV receives from field maintainers and operators, the company has undertaken an effort to update the engine’s muffler and generator, which will substantially reduce onsite maintenance and downtime. “The goal is to reduce the touch-time on the engine to only require scheduled spark plug changes, and the muffler update is part of that effort.” says Harris. “After each flight, engine operational data is downloaded on location and then analyzed and approved by a NWUAV specialist prior to the next flight. The ability for operators to be in immediate, direct contact with our experts and provide us with this data and direct feedback is a welcome, critical loop in support of our customers’ successful operations and our internal efforts for continuous improvement.”

    Additional advancements currently in the works for the NW-44 include an Artificial Intelligence (Ai) module that can predict pending failures and required maintenance, carbon build-up resistant piston rings (Not Keystone), an altitude compensating carburetor and a lighter weight variant of the Multi-Fuel NW-44.

    Though NWUAV was one of the first companies to successfully break from tradition and establish higher expectations for Tier II UAV propulsion systems, they continue to innovate and further advance expectations for Tier II systems, and with their NW-88 Engine, Tier III applications.  

  • September 9, 2019 | McMinnville, OR: With FAA’s Terry Wilmeth and Rich Davis along with University of Alaska Fairbanks representatives Jimmy Parrish, Tom Elmer and Nick Adkins, Northwest UAV’s Flight, Analysis, and System Test (FAST) UAV Range completed its inaugural flight Wednesday, September 4th.  The Certificate of Authorization (COA) obtained by the University of Alaska Fairbanks allows Northwest UAV to operate its own test range under the Pan-Pacific UAS Complex. The range facilitates flights up to 4,000 feet in a 5 nautical mile radius of airspace just 12 miles south of NWUAV’s main campus, which offers a variety of UAV products and services.

    The FAST Range inaugural flight was performed Wednesday, September 4th by Tim Klein of Klein Engineering, who flew a DJI Phantom Drone for the day but traditionally designs and builds hexrotors to complete power line and log line pulling, as well as offers a variety of UAV mapping and photography services in the Willamette Valley. The DJI Drone flew over 500 feet in a 1 nautical mile radius of airspace while Northwest UAV FSO David Jackson monitored the flight from the ground.

    “We’re excited to offer the opportunity to legally fly drones just minutes from our main campus,” said David Jackson. “As a licensed private and unmanned vehicle pilot, I’m keenly aware of FAA regulations and the risks involved in any airspace (and around it). With this inaugural flight we demonstrated our commitment to safety, as well as the untapped potential of a UAV Range in the Willamette Valley.” 

    The COA granted to the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration (UAF’s ACUASI) makes it possible for Northwest UAV to support the growing UAV industry in Oregon. With the Portland International Airport just over an hour away and the growing number of UAV companies and drone enthusiasts settling in the Willamette Valley, NWUAV’s FAST Range is set to considerably accelerate the drone industry in Oregon.

    “We’re offering the UAV industry a one-stop-shop operation,” said President and Owner of NWUAV, Chris Harris. “With our full-service campus, our customers are able to integrate payloads, cameras, engines, autopilots, transponders and servos right into their new or existing aircraft and then test fly at our FAA UAS Test Range just a few miles down the road. Our goal is to have a facility where new or existing customers could utilize our capabilities to support their project. This eliminates their need to build up the capability internally or organically, which can be extremely expensive and time consuming.” 

    Cathy Cahill, director of UAF’s ACUASI, is pleased to have the new site as part of the test range. “We are delighted to support the additional safe research, development, testing and evaluation of unmanned aircraft technology that will be possible with our new range and partners in McMinnville,” she said.

    As Northwest UAV looks to complete construction of an additional 30,000 sq. ft of space on their main campus, NWUAV’s long-term strategy to be the first one-stop-shop for the UAV industry is in sight. Beyond the new FAST Range, NWUAV provides customers with a dedicated machine shop, 3D printing operation, aero/mechanical/electrical engineering services, wire harness production, technical writers and a fully capable AS9100 production facility. Once the new facilities are complete, NWUAV will also offer up to 15,000 sq./ft of professional and production/warehouse space dedicated solely for customer use.  A facility in which all aspects of design, manufacture, ground and flight testing of UAVs will be a game changer for NWUAV customers as well as the UAV industry.

    Anyone interested in using the FAST UAV Range is encouraged to contact David Jackson (503.434.6845 x185) for a flight application. Anyone interested in using other NWUAV services is encouraged to rthe NWUAV website. Anyone with questions about the Pan Pacific Test Range Complex is encouraged to contact Jimmy Parrish with the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

  • The NW-44 Heavy-Fuel Engine – Northwest UAV’s purpose-built propulsion system for small unmanned aircraft systems – has now successfully logged over 1500 flights in combat conditions. As the NW-44 Engine passes this noteworthy milestone, it continues to set Aviation Grade standards for reliability and maintainability.

    June 17, 2019 | McMinnville, OR: In just a few months the NW-44 Heavy-Fuel Engine has added over 500 flights to its logbooks, bringing its combat flight total to 1500 flights. As the purpose-built engine continues to soar, Northwest UAV is proud to see the Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) solution providing warfighters and commercial operators with the best propulsion system in the small UAV category. 

    A complete turn-key, Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) engine system designed for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS), the NW-44 Engine is a lightweight, heavy-fuel engine that performs better on every metric than any other competitive solution. This has become the standard heavy-fuel solution for the UAV marketplace. The NW-44 supports aircraft in the category of 40-80 lb (18-35 kg) Max Gross Takeoff Weight (MGTOW). This Aviation Grade, combat proven, reliable, extremely quiet propulsion system is currently supporting the military’s Tier II UAV sector and the FAA’s 55 lb weight class UAS and has gained more and more industry interest the longer it’s in the skies. 

    “We’re proud of this milestone for the NW-44 Heavy-Fuel Engine,” President and Owner of NWUAV, Chris Harris says of the NW-44 Engine logging over 1500 flights. “But we aren’t surprised. The NW-44 offers something unique in the small unmanned aircraft systems market –Consistency. Most systems are based on hobby engines which are inconsistent from engine to engine, a throw-away after its short life. One NW-44 engine can log a thousand or more flight hours and multiple overhauls. They’re designed to allow simple routine maintenance, and periodic overhauls much like a jet engine.”

    Northwest UAV’s Chief Technical Officer Jeff Ratcliffe is convinced that the NW-44 engine’s unique design for overhaul isn’t the only reason it continues to be a popular propulsion choice.

    “The NW-44 is a very adaptable engine,” Ratcliffe explains. “It is built to support the 55 lb commercial market and Military Tier II UAV needs, which makes it the go-to engine for a wide variety of customers. Its adaptability is yet another reason it’s a very cost-effective solution. Rather than designing and building their own purpose-built engine, our customers can quickly, easily and affordably take advantage of the NW-44 Engine’s standard professional aviation features to fit their needs.” 

    For customers who fall outside of the Tier II weight range, NWUAV is developing and testing a series of engines that borrow the design elements of the NW-44 Engine and offer similar capabilities for larger vehicles. Borrowing design elements from the NW-44 greatly expedites the development process and is proving successful in testing.

  • Northwest UAV’s NW-88 heavy-fuel twin-cylinder UAV engine continues to complete successful test runs … And the numbers are impressive. As interest in the engine grows, Northwest UAV looks forward to seeing the NW-88 in the skies later this year.

    April 30, 2019 | McMinnville, OR: In just over a year the NW-88 heavy fuel engine has transitioned from concept to prototype to a well-tested engine.  With a market eager for a reliable, efficient engine for Group III UAVs, the NW-88 heavy fuel UAV engine is poised for success, like NWUAV’s NW-44 UAV Engine before it.

    The NW-88 heavy fuel twin-cylinder UAV engine is set to fill mission gaps in the maturing UAS industry, much like the NW-44 UAV Engine has done before it. The aviation grade NW-88 engine is designed to offer endurance and reliability gains to Group III UAVs in the 75-150 pound weight class, which are increasingly being used for commercial and military purposes. 

    “We noticed as the popularity of the NW-44 engine grew, that Group III UAVs in the 75-150-pound weight class were experiencing the same endurance and reliability issues that the NW-44 engine addressed in Group II UAVs,” Chris Harris, President and Owner of Northwest UAV said. “OEMs and end users (the OEM’s customers) are hungry for an aviation grade option, which is to say that they are looking for a higher level of maturity, maintainability, reliability, and consistency in their propulsion system. We’ve taken what we’ve learned from developing aviation grade qualities in the NW-44 engine and applied those technologies to the NW-88. In fact, many of the components on the NW-88 are shared with the NW-44.  Utilizing proven components greatly reduced the NW-88 development timeline as well as cost and has resulted in superior test results. In addition, these shared components are cost effective for customers deploying both the NW-44 and the NW-88, which were designed for easy maintenance and overhaul.”

    As NWUAV continues to test the NW-88 heavy fuel engine in their test facilities, market interest in the engine continues to grow.  “We are really pleased with the performance of the NW-88 and are seeing impressive BSFC and HP numbers as it relates to the displacement and overall size and weight of the engine”, said Chris Harris. “When OEM’s select an engine solution they consider many things, but one critical factor that typically gets ignored or overlooked while reviewing performance data is the size of the engine and the associated parasitic drag that will be induced into the airframe, which can have a dramatic effect on endurance.  When developing engine systems, we focus heavily on packaging and reducing the overall footprint by incorporating technology such as our patented conformal muffler designed for best BSFC at cruise.  We have been asked many times about the potential of efficiency gains with direct injection. We have purposefully stayed away from that approach due to the additional parasitic drag that is induced with the increased cylinder height and the limited time for an injection event on small displacement 2 stroke engines.  On a 4-stroke engine there is roughly 270 degrees of crank rotation to inject the required amount of fuel.  On a smaller 2-stroke engine there is about 30 degrees of crank rotation after the transfer and exhaust ports are covered by the approaching piston. This leaves about 2 ms to inject fuel, or ~½” of piston movement, before the spark event … To expect a consistent homogeneous fuel mixture prior to the spark event seems unrealistic.”

    The NW-88 boxer twin has a unique injection strategy that utilizes twin throttle bodies, injectors and dual rotary valve intakes. This engine core design addresses an industry-wide issue with boxer twins, where both cylinders share the lower end volume leading to variable fuel mixtures at different throttle settings and altitudes.  NWUAV’s strategy permits a matched homogeneous fuel mixture between cylinders, which ensures the heavy fuel is well-vaporized prior to entering the cylinder. This leads to impressive BSFC numbers throughout the RPM range.

    “The NW-88 engine is a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) aviation grade engine just like the NW-44,” Harris explained, “A COTS engine solution saves OEMs a substantial amount of time and money. Rather than trying to develop and mature their own engine system, a process that takes years, Northwest UAV does the work for the OEM. We understand the full progression from the ground up, including the cost and infrastructure required to mature initial engine development systems into qualified tested production products.”

  • America’s UAV one-stop shop, Northwest UAV, is now the US distributor of Inertial Labs positioning, orientation and navigation technologies.

    McMinnville, OR: Northwest UAV has partnered with Inertial Labs to add their best in class positioning, navigation, and orientation technologies to NWUAV’s impressive list of UAS technologies and services. Maintaining a constant focus on providing the highest quality, Inertial Labs offers the best value, smallest, most accurate, and lowest power consumption products. This philosophy of product design and development perfectly aligns with Northwest UAV’s commitment to providing the highest quality and best value building blocks for the unmanned industry.

    “We’re proud of the reputation we’ve built in the UAS industry for providing the most reliable, cost-effective, and high-performance UAS solutions,” explained Jeff Ratcliffe, NWUAV Chief Technical Officer. “As we build on our history of providing UAV propulsion system solutions, we are expanding our strategy and becoming America’s one-stop UAV shop. We’re being very diligent to ensure that all of the products and services we offer integrate seamlessly with our other products and services and are consistent with our hard-earned reputation for the highest level of performance, quality, and service.”

    As the leader in position and orientation sensor technologies, Inertial Labs offers the most innovative solutions representing the best value, smallest size, and lowest power consumption in their class. As a distributor for Inertial Labs’ Inertial Navigation Systems (INS), Inertial Measurement Units (EMU) and Attitude Heading and Reference Systems (AHRS), Northwest UAV provides the industry with all of the experience and tools to help customers be successful in all aspects of developing and improving their systems. Whether it is choosing the right component or integrating into their design or testing it at NWUAV’s FAST UAV Test Range, NWUAV has the expertise and the capability to ensure success.

    “We’re excited to partner with a company that shares our high standards for quality, value and performance,” said Inertial Labs Business Development Manager, Anton Barabashov. “And we’re thrilled to have a distributor who can offer our customers so many complementary services alongside our products, such as flight testing, build-to-print manufacturing, design assistance, and repair. We’re confident that our United States customers will be well-served and supported by the expert team at Northwest UAV.”

    Adding Inertial Labs sensors and products to their impressive list of products, Northwest UAV continues to set the highest expectations for what it means to be America’s one-stop UAV shop. Offering design, manufacturing, build-to-print, repair, ground testing and flight testing alongside trusted partner products, Northwest UAV strives to provide expert assistance with every aspect of UAV design, development, and production in one location. NWUAV customers utilize these products, partner products and services throughout the entirety of their product lifecycle, providing flexibility and immediate availability that sets a new standard for service to the UAS industry. Visit our website for more information.


  • UAV Engines – NWUAV, Rotron and RCV Engines
    For a reliable, small engine with endurance, count on NWUAV. From our own COTS UAV engines to powerful Rotron Rotary engines to versatile RCV Limited engines — We offer a variety of small multi-fuel engines and customization to fit your propulsion needs....

  • NWUAV Engines
    Expertly designed for small, low altitude aircraft that require fuel efficiency and portable power generation, NWUAV engines are American-made purpose-built propulsion systems. From multi-fuel options like the NW-44 and NW-88, to the gas only NW-500 – NWUAV has the ready-to-fly commercial off-the-shelf engine for your small UAV application. Modifications to fit payloads and aircraft are available. AS9100 | ISO9001 Certified.

    Rotron Rotary UAV Engines
    Smaller. Lighter. More fuel efficient. Rotron Rotary UAV Engines are 4-stroke, Wankel cycle rotary engines that are considerably smaller, lighter, and contain fewer moving parts than piston engines of equivalent power output. Custom options available!

    RCV Small UAV Engines
    Easy to calibrate. High power-to-weight ratio. Minimal carbonization. RCV Rotary Engines are 4-stroke single and twin cylinder engines designed for small UAV engine applications in the 1kW to 6kW range. Configure the engine for your application!

  • Engineering Design and Development Services
    Your one-stop-shop for design, development and manufacturing! From a versatile engineering team to a full service manufacturing facility to engine testing, MRO, and R&D - we have the team and technology to help with all aspects of your UAS project....

  • Engineering Design & Development 
    Mechanical, electrical, aerospace and physics. Our versatile team of highly trained and skilled engineers are well-versed in UAV design, development and problem solving.

    Full-Service Manufacturing
    Engines and components built to your specifications, for your purpose, with our expertise, superior equipment and AS9100 certified facility.

    Engine Testing & Diagnostics
    Using engine run-in stations with controlled environments and various dynos, testing with us helps reduce flight risk, and can save time, money and resources.

    Engine MRO
    We'll repair, overhaul or even customize your engine to get it running efficiently and effectively. And we understand, second only to quality, engine repair turn-time is the most important factor in the overall cost of ownership of UAVs.

    R&D Services
    From heavy-fuel engine conversions to fuel injection systems to propellers, NWUAV has the facility, experienced staff and reliable vendors to tackle your UAS R&D project.

  • Autopilots, Control Stations and Accessories
    For complete autonomous control of your hybrid VTOL, fixed-wing, or other unmanned vehicle, Veronte autopilots are the solution. Veronte offers a wide variety of products, from autopilots to an autopilot kit to control stations and other accessories....

  • Veronte Autopilots
    With fully autonomous control for almost any UAS, including hybrid VTOL, multirotor and fixed-wing, as well as DO-178B/ED-12, DO-254B, DO-160 and IP67 compliance, it’s clear why Veronte autopilots are the flight controller’s choice. With the ability to automatically adapt to any changing conditions, the high reliability of Veronte Autopilots fits a variety of applications.

    Veronte Control Stations
    Whether you need to access your autopilot from anywhere, you need a ready-to-use system, or you need to perform a wide range of operations – Veronte Control Stations will help you complete your mission with ease.

    Veronte Gimbal & Gimbal Pro
    Small, lightweight, compact – everything you want a payload to be! The Veronte Gimbal and Veronte Gimbal Pro offer outstanding visibility, gyro stabilization, and more!

    Veronte Tracker
    With embedded control actuators and installed encoders, the Veronte tracker allows the operator to automatically point the antenna with precision.

  • Industrial and Redundant Servo Actuators
    Where exceptional precision and reliability are imperative (for HALE aircraft or OPA too), whether your maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) is as little as 30 lbs or as great as 1000 lbs, Pegasus Servo Actuators are the game changer you're looking for....

  • Pegasus Industrial Servo Actuators
    From the world's smallest professional servo in its class to a servo with maximum torque, Pegasus offers a wide variety. Whether you need a true powerhorse or unbeatable power-to-weight ratio or reliability and power in a tiny, rugged package, there's a Pegasus Actuator for your UAS.

    Pegasus Redundant Servo Actuators
    Based on their well-proven standard servo actuators, Pegasus offers a variety of redundant servo actuators for those applications requiring that much more power and reliability.

    Pegasus HALE Redundant Servo Actuators
    Specifically designed to support high-altitude long endurance (HALE) aircraft, the PA-RR-Series Actuators can operate at a temperature as low as -84°C (-119°F) for extended lengths of time.

    Pegasus OPA Servo Actuator System
    With the redundant duplex actuators, easily engage/disengage the clutch to conventionally pilot your aircraft or fly unmanned. This actuator system is the unique, versatile OPA servo actuator solution.

  • FAA Approved FAST UAS Range for Flight Testing
    With a Certificate of Authorization (COA) by the FAA, Northwest UAV offers our own Flight, Analysis, and System Testing (FAST) UAV Test Range just 12 miles south of our main campus. Fly up to 4,000 feet within a 5 nautical mile radius of airspace....

  • NWUAV’s FAST Range is part of the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex - With our own licensed private and unmanned vehicle pilot managing air traffic and field operations, rest assured that your flights will remain within FAA regulations and safe, for you, those around you, and your equipment.

    FAST UAS Test Range Features:

    • Just 12 miles south of the Northwest UAV full-service facility, which offers MRO and engine repair, engine test cells, additive manufacturing, a CNC machine shop, a versatile engineering team, RV parking with hookups and facility office rental space
    • Fly up to 4,000 feet in the air
    • Fly within a 5 nautical mile radius
    • UAS Pilots available from the NWUAV team
    • Wi-Fi, power, and water available

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