2015-03-25, Dennis Zaklan, PSL UAV Program

Jim Maxon & Earl PhillipsPresident Bill Harty struck the bell at 12:14 pm to get the meeting underway.   Jim Maxon gave the invocation and President Bill led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Earl Phillips was joined by Jim Maxon to lead us in the tune we sing every so often, “R-O-T-A-R-Y, This is Rotary”.   They and we did a pretty good job, too.  An enthusiastic “Meet and Greet” followed with there being two mystery greeters, Richelle and Katelin Ponder.  Members had to shake both their hands in order to avoid the can.  There were no visiting Rotarians, but we did have a stray Lion, Franklin McKay.  We also had two guests and our Student Rotarians attending.  Since this was Spring Break, our Student Rotarians also got a break and don’t have to give their talks until next week. 

Katelin's inductionAlex Keatts then stepped forward to conduct an induction of our newest member, Katelin Ponder.  Katelin was sponsored by her mother, Richelle.  This results in our club having two mother-daughter teams.  Welcome Katelin!  President Bill then reminded members to return their District 5520 raffle ticket stubs by April 15 if they want to be included in the drawing.  Jodie Brdecko reminded members of the “Great American Clean-Up” on April 11 and the need for volunteers to help the Taste of Las Cruces event in June.  See Jodie if you can help with one or both.  Happy Dollars followed with Mary Ellen McKay being the happiest member…especially for her successful hip replacement operation. 

The Program

March Program Co-Chair Jim Parks introduced our guest speaker, Dennis Zaklan, Deputy Director of the Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle Flight Test Center for the NMSU Physical Sciences Laboratory.  Jim noted he was especially interested in hearing this presentation because his employer, Coldwell Banker, uses drones to photograph property  from the air.  This gives potential buyers a perspective of the property size they wouldn’t have otherwise.  Jim also noted that Dennis goes by his nickname, Zak. 

Dennis ZaklanZak began by explaining that there are all sizes and shapes of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.  What is important are the tasks that they are able to accomplish.  These range from aerial surveillance to delivering packages.  He has seen drones that are as small as the tip of a thumb to as large as the wingspan of a 737.  The UAS Flight Test Center performs a number of tasks from testing UAS to helping the Federal Aviation Administration develop regulations for the use of the systems.  The Center has 15,000 square miles of airspace designated for their testing.  Zak noted, however, that the Center has to share this airspace with other types of aircraft. 

Any UAS consists of three main parts:  the aircraft, the transmitter that works on a certain frequency, and a pilot who may or may not be near the actual flight.  There are all levels of sophistication for such systems.  Some can be programmed for automatic flight while others require a pilot from beginning to end.  For many tasks, unmanned aircraft systems can perform them much more efficiently and effectively than piloted aircraft.

UAVOur guest speaker then discussed the Federal Aviation Agency’s efforts to develop regulations to cover the use of commercial drones.  The agency has been under considerable pressure to develop them as quickly as possible.  Obviously safety is a primary concern since drones share the airspace with all types of piloted aircraft. Zak also pointed out that Europe is far ahead of the USA in the regulation and use of drones.  His final words were: ‘if you see a drone coming down the street at you, take cover!’

After the Program

Our guest speaker drew the winning raffle ticket and Patty Groth claimed the prize.  Executive Secretary Lya reported that the can raised $43 for the March of Dimes.  The meeting concluded with the 4 Way Test.

<prior week   following week>

Guests of Rotarians



Franklin McKay

Mary Ellen McKay

Judith Ames

Lyn Ames

Visiting Rotarians


Home Club



Student Guests



Abryanna Carreon

Las Cruces

Kendra Gutierrez






Dinus Briggs


Golden Princess

Dinus Briggs

2/11, 2/18. 2/25

Brookings, SD

Kim Hakes


Rio Grande

Club Anniveraries-April

Member Club Anniversary Tenure
Sherry Franzoy April 4 3 years
Walter Baker April 5 26 years
James M. Scott April 14 44 years
Christopher Dulany April 28 5 years
Patty Groth April 30 1 year
Matthew Mossburg April 30 1 year

Submitted by Ron SalakRon Salak