Everything you need to know about drones!!!
More and more often, we look up and see small flying objects hovering over us. Our thoughts immediately turn to a child with a remote control and we exclaim, “Ah…it’s just a toy!” Are we really sure that this corresponds to reality?
What is a drone?
A drone, technically called APR “Remotely Piloted Aircraft”, is an aircraft piloted and managed remotely in its flight by an on-board computer, which replaces the presence of a human on board. They are mainly used in the military sector but , thanks to advances in technology , they are increasingly finding their place in the civilian sector, for example for filming sporting events, topography or religious ceremonies.
They can be fixed-wing (like airplanes) or multi-rotor (that is, they fly thanks to the presence of propellers). These are very complex elements both from a hardware and software point of view and, in fact, the set of different elements (aircraft, radio control, camera, software) is called SAPR (Remote Piloted Aircraft System). Like all aircraft, they must comply with specific regulations which, in Italy, are issued by ENAC (the Italian national civil aviation authority) and can only be flown by specialized operators who have the necessary authorizations. necessary from the authority, which are issued by appropriate examinations and medical examinations.
So why are kids playing with drones?
Today, all the toy stores sell small drones that our children ask us to buy because they have the possibility of flying, if only by piloting a small object equipped with propellers and a camera which films everything from the sky that we cannot see from the ground fascinates children and, let’s face it, fascinates us too!
A small drone weighing less than 250 grams can be flown by anyone because, according to the calculations made by the authorities, if it falls in flight, it cannot cause a catastrophic event. That’s why we can buy them and allow the little ones and us to play with them. Of course, the presence of an adult is always recommended!
What about heavier drones?
The weight of drones increases depending on the purpose for which they are used. It is clear that a drone used for aerial filming during a sporting event requires impeccable flight precision and a capable video camera. This inevitably leads to an increase in the total weight of the drone which, in the event of a fall, can cause serious damage to property or persons. For this reason, flight operations are regulated according to where they must be carried out:
- Specialized operations in non-critical areas: a flight performed in an area where there are no crowds of people and no critical areas such as sensitive infrastructure. Obviously, it is only possible to operate after obtaining all the necessary certifications in accordance with ENAC regulations and publication in the list of operators authorized to fly in non-critical areas;
- Specialized operations in critical areas: these are urban agglomerations, congested areas and gatherings of people. These flights require special ENAC authorizations specific to each operation depending on the flight area and which also involve the installation of specific flight termination elements on the drone.
So a wedding or a sporting event is a critical area?
A ceremony (eg a wedding) or a sporting event (eg the Ski World Cup slalom held in Madonna di Campiglio before Christmas 2015) are for all intents and purposes critical areas for drone flight.
What happened to an Austrian skier, as reported by the media, is clear to all: a fraction of a second and it could have been fatal. This is not a drone pilot dissertation, just a clear example of what can happen when flying in a critical area.
Therefore, it is clear that it is necessary to be in possession of SAPRs equipped with specific safety elements and piloted by specialized operators who have all the necessary flight authorizations issued by the ENAC.
Unfortunately, this is also the case for “weddings”: it is not enough to be a professional photographer equipped with an SAPR to be able to offer a complete package to the customer, but you have to become a specialist flight operator and make the customer the process he must go through to be able to capture the most beautiful moment of his life from the sky. Don’t think that clever photographers who can offer a lower price will attract more customers.
And if, during the filming of your wedding, the police show up to check if the photographer you have hired has all the necessary authorizations to fly a drone and he does not have them, what will happen? I think your wedding day might turn out to be a bad day!
ENAC regulations are evolving and the latest amendments have already introduced administrative and criminal sanctions to be applied in such cases.
But apart from making wedding videos, what are they used for?
4Drones can be used for: filming, aerial photography, land management, surveying, photogrammetry, ridge surveys, photographic inspections of installations such as solar panels, surveys of archaeological sites, architectural design, agriculture, surveillance, etc. SAPRs are evolving and the fields of application are endless because all you have to do is contact a specialized flight operator and what you think of can be achieved using a drone.