If you have arrived on this page it means that you are trying to understand how to use a drone in Italy, maybe in one of its beautiful cities of art such as Venice, Verona, Florence, Rome, Naples (just to name a few).
The first thing you should know is that in Italy, as now all countries in the world, there is a regulation that regulates the use of drones, and limits the use depending on the size and weight of the drone, where you make it fly and why you make it fly.
That’s right: those who fly for work (or more generally, anyone who is not flying for sport in special spaces) must obtain specific licenses and authorizations to use a drone, and is required to comply with strict rules of air navigation.
In this page we will explain what a non-Italian citizen (or company) should do if he needs to fly a drone, in Italy, for professional needs.
Useful information for anyone who needs to use a Remote Pilot Aircraft System (also called SAPR) for television or film productions, inspection or aerial measurement activities.
Who can use a drone in Italy for work?
The use of drones for work activities is only allowed to operators who have obtained a specific authorization.
SAPR operators (i.e. Remote Pilot Aircraft Systems) are listed in a register of ENAC, the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (the Italian equivalent of the US FAA).
What is the difference between “pilot” and “operator”?
The Italian regulation on the use of drones is developed around two fundamental figures in the world of aerial work: that of the operator and that of the pilot.
The operator is the equivalent of the airline company: he is in charge of the fleet of drones, guarantees their perfect condition and prepares them for the flight, assuming all the responsibilities of the case. The pilot is, as you can imagine, the subject in charge of piloting the drone.
That’s how it works:
the operator (the small airline) hires the pilot to fly his own drones, on the basis of the authorization in his possession.
The pilot will fly the drone, on the basis of his authorisation to fly drones.
Aerial work can therefore only be carried out by a pilot on behalf of an operator.
In smaller business realities (think of a freelance photographer, with his small drone), the figure of the operator and that of the pilot are superimposed. In the more structured corporate realities, the operator systematically hires pilots to carry out aerial work activities (as in the case of Overfly.me, which can boast a network of pilots throughout the national territory).
Can a foreign citizen obtain authorization as an operator, and authorization as a pilot, to fly with his own drone in Italy?
Theoretically, yes, but practically it is very very complex. To date, every nation in the world has its own drones regulations. These regulations are very similar to each other, but the licenses and authorizations that you get in a country (for example, their own) are not recognized in other countries (as is the case with the classic driving license of cars).
This means that – at least until the entry into force of the single European regulation, scheduled for 2022 – to fly with a drone in Italy you need to train in an Italian flight school, and then obtain an authorization from the Italian aviation authority.
At least that you do not want to stay in Italy for a few weeks, and get all the qualifications required by Italian law to fly with a drone, to perform aerial activities with drone in Italy is inevitable to rely on an Italian drones operator.
I want to try to fly a drone without all the authorizations : what do i risk?
The sanctions, to date, are disproportionate. Since the regulation of drones is still very young, the rules and penalties are the same as the conventional air regulations (the one with pilot on board, for instance).
This means that, from the point of view of the “fine”, an offence involving a drone is treated as an offence involving a real aircraft. Flying without aviation insurance alone can result in a fine of tens of thousands of euros. In most cases these penalties are considered to be oversized. However, that is the situation today.
I understand that to fly a drone in Italy I have to rely on an Italian operator. How do I choose it?
First, you need to frame the type of drone you need to fly, based on your needs.
Do you need trivial aerial photos of a rural area? A small drone, such as a DJI Spark or a Parrot Anafi, might suffice.
Aerial filming for television productions? A good DJI Inspire 1 could be a good choice.
Are we talking about Cinema? We don’t run away. A great DJI Inspire 2 with room X7.
If not a higher class remote-controlled aircraft, capable of loading movie cameras.
If the need is basic, the choice of operator (check its regularity) should be of geographical convenience. The cost of these operators may be low, but the proximity of the operator to the area to be flown over will be crucial in the quotation and quotation phase.
I need quality aerial photography in an Italian city of art. How to proceed?
In this case, the selection of the operator is essential for the success of the practices that will have to be carried out in order to operate.
In fact, on all the main Italian cities, and in particular on those with a strong tourist vocation, there are bans on the flight of drone that can be overcome only after obtaining special OK on the fly by control bodies. In the image opposite, an example of the prohibitions active on Venice in February 2019.
The operators of more structured drones know how to manage these practices, purely aeronautical in profile.
Tackling the authorization process in strict terms is just as crucial as knowing how to make excellent aerial shots.
In cities such as Venice, Verona, Florence, Rome, Naples, it can take up to 60 days to obtain flight authorizations in the most evocative points of these capitals of art and culture.
Can Overfly.me srl help me to carry out aerial operations with a drone?
Yes, of course. It’s our job! We operate throughout the country and, from 2014, we are chosen by the main private and public Italian companies.
Besides working continuously for the Italian state television (RAI – Radio Televisione Italiana), Overfly.me is the operator chosen by international television and film productions for the realization of quality aerial shots.
What kind of drones does Overfly.me use?
We have practically all the drones that can be used in professional activities. From the smallest (Spark, Anafi) to the top of the range Inspire 2 and Matrice 600.
What is the equipment made available by Overly.me for those who have to shoot aerial drone shots in Italy?
For basic needs, we propose the versatile Phantom 4 PRO v2: high level images (sensor from 1 inch, up to 4K), good range and excellent price/service ratio. The great advantage of the Phantom 4 Pro v2 is that it can be easily used by the pilot only, without the need for a second camera operator.
For intermediate levels, we suggest the use of Inspire 1 PRO: in this case the camera operator is strongly recommended (to make the most of the dynamic capabilities of the drone), but it is not mandatory. Thanks to the X5 camera (Micro 4/3 sensor) it is possible to choose the most suitable lens for shooting: in fact, our teams provide the drone with the entire line of Olympus lenses compatible with this camera. The pilot controller (and that of the camera operator) are completed by the 4th generation Ipad Mini, with excellent live performance of the shot..
For television or movie needs, the Overfly.me troupes have DJI Inspire 2, for shooting up to 5K in RAW and ProRes. The rental of this drone always requires the presence of one of our drivers and one of our camera operators. Also for this vehicle is made available a full set of optics, 1 standard controller + 1 Cendence controller with Focus Wheel and SDI output for live streaming up to 1080i.
All equipped with 2 CrystalSky monitors with very high brightness.
For strictly cinematic needs our network has DJI Matrice 600, which is configured according to the required camera specifications.
WE ARE AUTHORIZED BY ENAC TO FLY WITH OUR DRONES THROUGHOUT ITALY
SINCE 2014, ITALIAN LEADING COMPANY IN UAV BUSINESS
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HOW WE WORK
WE INFORM YOU
We know that it is not always easy to understand the laws and limitations involved in the use of drones in Italy: right from the start we point out to the customer the real feasibility of the required aerial operation, the timing required to organize it and the predictable costs for quality work.
We carry out aerial work activities with our drones (i.e. SAPR – Remote Pilot Aircraft Systems) on the chosen date, safely and in compliance with the law, as formally planned and agreed.
Within 3 working days from the air activities (unless otherwise agreed) we share with the customer part of the expected returns (photos, videos, measurements, etc.), to allow verification of the actual achievement of the objectives of the order
YOU ARE ALWAYS GUARANTEE
Only after the positive feedback of the customer we proceed with the invoicing of the services. Once the balance has been accounted for by our administration, the customer receives all the material produced by our pilots and drones.