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Aircraft register

What are the requirements for entry in the domestic aircraft register?

An aircraft must be registered in the National Aircraft Registry pursuant to the Navigation Code (ie, Articles 687 and following) and the Civil Code (ie, Articles 2643 and following on mandatory registration). The registration must be done with the Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC), which issues the registration certificate. The registering person or entity is usually the owner; in order to qualify, the registrant must reside in Italy or in another EU member state and have obtained a certificate of airworthiness.

Mortgages and encumbrances

Is there a domestic register for aircraft mortgages, encumbrances and other interests? If so, what are the requirements and legal effects of registration?

Only voluntary (ie, not judiciary) mortgages may be registered on an aircraft in Italy. The mortgage must be:

  • filed with a notarial deed or private deed enlisting all the specific elements of individualisation of the aircraft; and
  • registered in the National Aircraft Registry held by ENAC, with a relevant annotation on the registration certificate.

The mortgage will be perfected with the annotation on the registration certificate of the aircraft. It will cover the aircraft, together with its engines and spare parts; these will be covered even if not attached to the aircraft, provided that they belong to the same owner as the aircraft.

A registered aircraft mortgage is second only to:

  • special liens recognised by the Navigation Code;
  • credits of the employers; and
  • certain indemnities for damages and insurance for responsibility vis-à-vis third parties.

This is all regulated by Articles 1027 to 1037 of the Navigation Code.


What rules and procedures govern the detention of aircraft?

Articles 1055 and following of the Navigation Code, in connection with Articles 474 and following of the Italian Code of Civil Procedure, regulate:

  • the judicial or cautionary seizure of aircraft;
  • the attachment of aircraft;
  • the administrative custody of aircraft; and
  • the detention of aircraft for bankruptcy procedures (including the forced sale of the aircraft).

Safety and maintenance

What rules and procedures govern aircraft safety and maintenance?

International treaties, EU laws and domestic regulations govern Italian aircraft safety and maintenance. ENAC plays a major role, and is entitled to issue technical regulations implementing the international standards.

The main regulations on aircraft safety are:

  • the Chicago Convention. The International Civil Aviation Organisation annexes to the Chicago Convention are implemented by technical regulations issued by ENAC;
  • EU laws (eg, Regulation 216/2008); and
  • the Navigation Code and Legislative Decree 250/1997 (which establishes the ENAC).

Based on the EU Ramp Inspection Programme, ENAC has developed an additional plan of random ramp inspections called Safety Assessment of National Aircrafts (SANA). SANA inspections are carried out on aircraft operated by Italian carriers in order to verify and monitor their safety conditions.

With reference to aircraft maintenance, Italy applies the standards and procedures laid down in EU Regulation 1321/2014. The entities involved in maintenance activities must be approved by ENAC.


What is the state of regulation on unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) in your jurisdiction?

EU Regulation 216/2008 and ENAC’s Remotely Piloted Aerial Vehicles Regulation, issued on July 16 2015, govern drones. Drones that are classified as remotely piloted aircraft systems (SAPRs) (ie, to be used for special operations or in R&D activities) are also subject to the Navigation Code, while ‘model aircraft’ (ie, to be used only for recreational and sport purposes) are exempt from the Navigation Code.

ENAC classifies SAPRs according to the maximum take-off weight:

  • SAPRs with a maximum take-off weight of less than 25 kilograms must be identified by a plate and an electronic identification device and pilots must obtain a pilot’s certificate.
  • SAPRs with a maximum take-off weight of 25 to 150 kilograms must be registered with the Registry of Remotely Piloted Aircraft and authorised with a flight permit. Pilots must obtain a pilot’s licence.

A flight manual and third-party insurance are mandatory in all cases.

Flight operations are classified based on the possibility for the remote pilot to maintain continual visual control of the SAPR – using the terminology ‘visual line of sight’ (VLOS) and ‘beyond line of sight’. Another relevant distinction is between ‘critical’ special operations (ie, VLOS flight operations that do not overfly congested areas, gatherings of persons, urban areas or critical infrastructures – even in case of malfunction or failure), which require only an online compliance declaration, and ‘non-critical’ special operations, which must be authorised by ENAC. Authorisation is also mandatory for R&D activities.

The regulation of drones will be updated by a new EU regulation that will replace Regulation 216/2008. On February 2018 the European Aviation Safety Agency published Opinion 01/2018 on safe operations for small drones in the European Union. This first-ever set of EU-wide rules for civil drones will be subject to discussion by the European Commission and member states, with adoption as an EU regulation forecasted for the end of 2018.

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