Italian Authority Awards First Commercial UAV Permit

 - November 13, 2012, 5:04 PM
Italy's Enel electric utility is studying the use of the Anteos quadcopter to remotely monitor power plants. (Photo: Aermatica)

A manufacturer of small UAVs said it was awarded the first permit from the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (Enac) to operate a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) in non-segregated airspace. Aermatica, of Venegono Superiore, Italy, said it obtained the permit for its Anteos RPA, a battery-powered quadcopter.

Italy’s Enel electric utility has chosen the Anteos to study the use of small RPAs for remote monitoring of power plants. Operating such aircraft in an industrial setting “strictly requires an aeronautical approach,” Piero Refolo, Aermatica CEO, wrote in an email to AIN. “For this reason it’s necessary to get all the relevant authorizations from the Civil Aviation Authority, to consider all the requirements in terms of safety typical of an industrial plant (and) to acquire data that represents the ‘proof of safety’ of that application.”

Refolo said the Anteos is being readied for other possible applications, including landslide monitoring in mountainous regions. The carbon fiber aircraft “is already industrialized and ready (for) production,” according to the company’s website. It comes in “Micro” and “Mini” versions, with a maximum takeoff weight of 3 kg (6.6 pounds) and 7 kg (15.4 pounds), respectively. By regulation, the maximum operating altitude of both is 50 meters (164 feet), at a maximum distance of 200 meters (656 feet).

The first RPA permit-to-fly was granted on October 30, at a time when Enac is formulating legislation designed to regulate the commercial use of RPAs, according to the UAS Vision news service. The legislation is preceded by an informational notice that Enac issued in August.