Remote Pilot Council Tuesday, January 16, 2018

PANEL: Tina Buskirk FAA Operations Program Manager and Ernest Copeland FAA Airworthiness Program Manager FAASTeam, Dr. Sarah Nilsson Attorney & Assistant Aviation Law Professor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, John Nunes UAS Market Development Gresco Technology Solutions and Tracy Lamb VP of Regulatory and Safety Affairs & Chief Pilot AUVSI

TIME: 5-730pm

PLACE: Polsinelli

One East Washington St

Suite 1200

Phoenix AZ 85004


PresidentLorie Grabham   Vice-PresidentMoses Koyabe   Treasurer: Lexa Garret   Secretary: Mignonne Hollis

Past Chapter Events

November 6‐8, 2017 –Mesa, AZ UAS Summit & Expo

The 2nd Arizona UAS Summit & Expo organized by Aerospace Arizona Association in partnership with the AUVSI Saguaro Chapter, brought together experts, industry, academia, legislature and policy makers, military, first responders and disaster relief, regional business leaders and economic developers to highlight emerging trends shaping the unmanned aircraft systems industry on the international, national and regional levels. Aerospace Arizona Association Chair Mignonne Hollis and ADEC member Moses Koyabe teamed up to host a variety of dignitaries among whom were AZ Senator Bob Worsley, Chair of the Transportation Committee and AUVSI CEO Brian Wynne from Washington DC.

MAY 6, 2017- International Drone Day
Thanks to everyone who came out to join us for International Drone Day 2017 on Saturday, May 6 at Sierra Verde STEM Academy! We saw roughly 100 folks from the community come out and enjoy the weather and participate in some fun drone flying. My favorite quote was from a student who said "I had no idea drones were this much fun. I am going to definitely get one now!".  The City of Glendale, Mayor Weiers, came out and enjoyed in the fun along with a representative from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.  Mayor Weiers got the opportunity to fly a DJI Matrice 600, thanks to Innovative UAS. Many thanks to Sierra Verde STEM Academy, Moxie Girls, Mayor Weiers, Flite Factory, MCSO, Innovative UAS, LMP360 Media and RETHINK Real Estate!




AUVSI SAGUARO CHAPTER EVENT AT Flite Factory, Phoenix, February 9, 2017

The Chapter would like to thank Flite Factory, Dustin Pennington, for hosting the Saguaro Chapter meeting and all the attendees. It was an insightful event as Dustin spoke about the upcoming 2nd Annual Phoenix Cup FPV Drone Race February 2017 and the many things they are doing for the community, particularly raising up the next generation of drone technology enthusiasts.

AUVSI SAGUARO CHAPTER EVENT AT the Arizona UAS Summit & Expo November 7-9, 2016

The Chapter would like to thank UAS Magazine and the Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation and all speakers and attendees of the conference. We would also like to thank Sierra Verde STEM Academy and the Moxie Girls for representing girls in STEM and supporting girls in computer science. They had a special session with Alex Palmer of Local Motors who have inspired these Jr.High girls in autonomous vehicles.

Sierra Verde STEM Moxie Girls at UAS Summit

AUVSI SAGUARO CHAPTER EVENT AT University of Arizona Tech Park in Tucson May 17, 2016

The Chapter would like to thank all attendees that came to see keynote speakers Rural/Metro Fire Captain John Sims on the EMILY deployment to the Greek Island of Lesvos and Ms. Callie Groth from the new Brock Tek. 


AUVSI SAGUARO CHAPTER EVENT AT Burton Barr Library in Phoenix February 25, 2016 

The Chapter would like to thank all attendees and those that showed an interest but could not attend due primarily to the very short notice. Despite the low turn-out, the meeting was very entertaining and informative. The key note speaker, Adam Hawkins, President of Global External Relations is a  leading authority when it comes to merging government relations, public affairs and community outreach. A fixture in the public affairs, communications and lobbying community for over a decade, Adam's insight was especially useful to the attendees in understanding the intricacies and potential revolving around the use and deployment of unmanned systems.



AUVSI SAGUARO CHAPTER EVENT AT Polsinelli Law Firm December 10, 2015 

We would like to thanks those that attended our December chapter meeting hosted by Polsinelli Law Firm in Phoenix. A big thank you to our panelists;

  • John Minor, Provost, Unmanned Vehicle University
  • Michael Patterson, Polsinelli Law Firm



AUVSI SAGUARO CHAPTER EVENT AT Frutkin Law Firm October 15, 2015

We would like to thanks those that attended our October chapter meeting hosted by Frutkin Law Firm in Scottsdale. There was not an empty seat in the house.  A big thank you to our panelists;

  • James Arrowood, Sr. Counsel, Fruitkin Law Firm

  • Matthew Klyszeiko, Sr. Planner, Michael Baker International

  • Dan Garzala, President, Garzala Insurance Group

  • Mary Niemczyk, Chair, Arizona State University Aviation Programs

  • Andrew Miller, Town Attorney, Paradise Valley




We would like to thank all those who attended our last chapter meeting hosted by Kinetx.  The agenda at that meeting included  presentations from; 

  • Congresswoman Krysten Sinema (AZ-9) on HR2909;

  • Doug Trudeau on 333 exemptions for use in real estate; and

  • Frank Oliver and Dr. Dee Andrews for Thompson-Wimmer on the City of Mesa’s feasibility study for a Virtual Test and Training Range. 

It is our pleasure to be involved and share with our AUVSI Saguaro membership and our community at-large some of the pertinent UAS within the State of Arizona. 












What's Hot

Drones used for first time in major search at Grand Canyon

The Associated Press

The desperate effort this week to find two hikers who disappeared at the bottom of the Grand Canyon represented the National Park Service's most extensive use yet of drones in a search-and-rescue mission.

The Grand Canyon is the only national park with its own fleet of unmanned aircraft for locating people who have gotten lost, stranded, injured or killed. Under a program that began last fall, it has five drones and four certified operators.

While the aerial search for the two hikers came up empty, it threw a spotlight on technology that can enter crevices and other rugged spots unreachable by foot while sparing searchers the dangers of going up in a helicopter.

With its steep cliffs, nearly 2,000 square miles and mesmerizing views, the Grand Canyon can be as dangerous as it is captivating.

Rangers were confronted with 1,200 medical emergencies, 293 search-and-rescue missions and 17 deaths in 2016, a year in which the park had nearly 6 million visitors. Last summer, a 35-year-old Yelp executive tripped while hiking, fell backward and was found dead 400 feet below.

"Our historic model was to take the helicopter to look and see," said Grand Canyon chief ranger Matt Vandzura. But now, drones can offer "that same close look but without putting any people at risk. It has dramatically increased our ability to keep our people safe."

The drones are about 18 inches across and 10 inches high, with a battery life of about 20 minutes. Drone operators watch the video in real time and then analyze it again at the end of the day.

The aircraft were used Monday through Wednesday in the search for LouAnn Merrell, 62, and her step grandson, Jackson Standefer, 14. The park also sent out three ground search teams of about 20 people in all, an inflatable motor boat and a helicopter.

Merrell and Standefer vanished last weekend after losing their footing while crossing a creek near the North Rim. They were on a hike with Merrell's husband, Merrell Boot Co. co-founder Randy Merrell, and the boy's mother.

The park soon scaled back the operation and stopped using the drones but continued the search. In a statement, the hikers' families backed the decision and said they were "still praying for a miracle."

The drones have been used a few times already.

In November, after a visitor drove off a cliff and died, drones were sent in to examine the trees and brush and make sure it was safe for a helicopter to fly in and lift the car out.

The next month, rangers used a drone to locate a woman who had jumped to her death. Then they rappelled down to retrieve the body.

The dangers of flying choppers in the canyon were illustrated in 2003, when a Park Service helicopter experienced a mechanical failure and crash-landed on the North Rim. Those aboard suffered only minor injuries; the helicopter was totaled.

Other national parks use drones, but for wildlife research. The use of private drones is prohibited in national parks.

James Doyle, a spokesman for the park service's Intermountain region, said other national parks will probably seek their own drone fleets, too. He said the Grand Canyon's extreme topography — it is a mile deep — makes it a perfect candidate.

"It's a wonderful tool for the unfortunate situation we just found ourselves in at Grand Canyon," Doyle said.


See drone video of giant fissure discovered near Arizona City

  • Updated


A large fissure was discovered about 13 miles south of Arizona City on Arizona Trust land, officials said.

State Reps. Vince Leach and Mark Finchem alerted their constituents to a 1.8-mile-long fissure in the earth discovered recently by the Arizona Geological Survey.

The fresh fissure is up to 10 feet wide and up to 30 feet deep.

“Extreme caution should be exercised by anyone recreating south-southwest of Picacho Peak State Park, especially those operating off-road vehicles,” said Leach.

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    The fissure is believed to have formed between March 2013 and December 2014. It is more than half a mile longer than other fissures in the area.

    Fissures are fairly common in central Arizona. There are clusters of fissures around Eloy and in Cochise, La Paz, Maricopa, Pima and Pinal Counties.

    Click here for drone footage shot by the AGS of the fissure.

    Link to story: http://tucson.com/news/local/see-drone-video-footage-of-new-fissure-discovered-near-arizona/article_d998b6f6-e323-11e6-8992-5f23dcd779f2.html




    Women and Drones provide a platform for women to share best practices and their preferences for products and services.We feature the perspectives of women in the UAV industry and create a community for women to connect, engage, collaborate and learn. Recently, Lorie Grabham, President, Saguaro Chapter was featured in an interview. Her interview can be found:

    Her Idea Turned Out To Be A Winner!



    Embry-Riddle Publishes Consumer Guide

    Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has published a consumer guide to Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems for novice users.

    Do you want to learn how to fly a small unmanned aircraft (drone) for your business? A research team at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Worldwide Campus has created the first-ever comprehensive consumer guide to small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) for novice users—those individuals interested in purchasing their first small remote controlled or autonomous multi-rotor flying aircraft.…

    The post What’s the Best Drone on the Market for Beginners? Embry-Riddle Publishes Consumer Guide to Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Novice Users appeared first on sUAS News.

    Message from the President

    January 30, 2017

    Dear AUVSI Saguaro Members,

    Administrator Huerta stated at the White House Workshop that “…we’ve registered more than 500,000 hobbyists in eight months. To put that in perspective, we only have 320,000 registered manned aircraft- and it took us 100 years to get there” . The White House has committed to $35 million in new research funding for UAS over the next five years.

    Our organization in Arizona is stepping up to help our members navigate the complex path towards full and useful deployment of UAS. As we transition into our new office, I would like to reassure you that we will pursue the path that we have sucesfully traced over the past years. Your input is going to help us focus on areas that are of key interest to you. I am setting up new committees that will be focused on legislative issues. Working with our regional Economic Development Foundations, we want to draw and attract awareness to Arizona and what we can offer.

    We have been working to establish a charter that we will share with you and adhere to through the year. However, first and foremost we need your active involvement in the chapter activities as we suggest them. Membership enrollment and involvement is my key focus for this year and my team and I will be available to respond to any questions you may have.

    I look forward to talking to you at our first meeting this year.

    Lorie Grabham

    President – AUVSI, Saguaro Chapter




    Serve as Arizona’s forum for advancing unmanned systems and robotics by: promoting Arizona’s comparative advantages in aerospace and defense; connecting our members with  experts and thought-leaders from the technical, business, policy, and educational sectors; and advocating for the continued adoption of unmanned systems.