Drone regulations in Italy
In this article, we explain the legal situation for the use of drones in Italy.
Since July 2020, a new law has been in force in Italy. The most important change is that drones now have to be registered and drone pilots need a to prove their knowledge. In the following, we break down the Italian rules.
Overview: Drone rules in Italy
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Is registration required at ENAC?
In Italy, all drone pilots must register as an operator in the D-Flight portal. Recreational pilots with drones weighing less than 250 grams are exempt, although the portal specifies that all drones with an HD camera or other equipment that could potentially invade the privacy of others must be registered, including those weighing less than 250 grams. This would mean that the DJI Mavic Mini, for example, would also have to be registered. That would correspond with the new EU drone regulation, but so far this information can only be found on the D-Flight website. Unfortunately, we have not yet received an answer to our question about this issue.
The D-Flight portal has been, at least in the beginning, still quite error-prone and had difficulties with displaying the correct information. To get to the registration, you best click on the login icon in the top right corner of the web app linked above (looks like the upper body of a person). There, you can access the registration mask via “Sign-Up”. Maybe this form is not displayed correctly and the form fields are called “register-user.register-id.username” or something similar. The last term, however, tells you what kind of information is requested. You can also try changing the language on the top right corner to Englisch or Italian.
You have to activate your account by e-mail, but you are not registered yet. To do so, you have to activate the option “SAPR Operator” under “Account Details”, fill in the required information and send a copy of your ID or passport by e-mail.
Drones weighing 250 grams or more are to be identified with the help of a QR code. This is also somewhat cumbersome. For simple flight maneuvers, the code costs 6 euros per drone. You first have to buy “D-coins” at the D-Flight market place. They are worth one euro each. You can then redeem six coins for the QR code. Attention: A reader has already reported that some payment options did not work and he could only transfer the money. You get the QR code by activating your drone under “Fleet” using the drone model.
As already indicated, the portal has not been very user-friendly in the beginning. Therefore we linked the official manual above, which describes how it should work normally.
The new rules also require proof of knowledge for drones weighing 250 grams or more. This certificate is valid for five years and can be obtained from the website of the Civil Aviation Authority ENAC. First, you have to take an online course, which seems to only be available in Italian at the moment, and then take an exam consisting of 40 multiple-choice questions. The certificate should cost 31 euros for normal maneuvers.
There have also been some problems here. After a cyber-attack on the course portal, taking this course is not required for hobby pilots until 1 September 2020.
From January 2021, a device for remote identification, i.e. an electronic radio transmitter, will be mandatory for drones weighing over 250 grams. This rule was actually supposed to be introduced in July when the law came into force, but because the exact requirements were not yet clear, the introduction was postponed.
Further rules for drone pilots in Italy
Italy basically differentiates between uncritical and critical flight maneuvers. In general, those under 120 meters in height, with drones under 2 kilograms and that do not take place over crowds are considered not critical.
The safety distances are 150 meters to populated areas and 50 meters to bystanders. In addition, the distance to metropolitan areas and sensitive infrastructure must be maintained.
The D-Flight portal will also provide information for further safety distances, for example around airports.
Flights must take place within visual line of sight, and sufficient lighting is necessary for night flights.
In order to be allowed to perform critical maneuvers, you must be registered as a professional drone pilot and require a permit. For certain standard scenarios, however, a declaration that you will adhere to the provisions is sufficient.
Radio transmission is possible on the frequencies 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz with a maximum of 100 mW.
We have researched the listed drone regulations for Italy to the best of our knowledge. We can not guarantee the correctness of the information. If you want to be on the safe side, please contact the competent aviation authority. Alternatively, you can also ask the embassy in your country for further information about the regulations. Please leave us a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your copter in Italy!