The current European regulation regarding Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

The civil operations of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are based on EU regulation 2019/9471 which establishes the categories of operations:

a) 'open' in which the manufacturer's project compliance declaration according to EN 4709-001 standard and remote pilot training are sufficient, in which Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) operations are not possible;

b) 'specific' which allows BVLOS operations also for logistical transport with small drones;

c) 'certified' which also allows commercial passenger transport.

The specific category concerns Apr Aerospace s.r.l.'s project, to which Articles 11 (Risk Assessment) and 12 (ENAC Authorization) of the said EU regulation 2019/947 apply.

EASA recommends applying the Specific Operation Risk Assessment (SORA) methodology developed by the Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems (JARUS). This methodology culminates in the assignment of a kind of risk coefficient called Specific Assurance and Integrity Level (SAIL).

The SAIL guides the choice of standards to achieve compliance (e.g., ISO 21384-3 for the organization of the operator who is the employer of the remote pilots) and for the related tools to demonstrate it (Means of Evidence = MoE).

The MoE are strongly influenced by the SAIL, whose values can range from I (low risk) to VI (high risk). Typically for:

- SAIL I and II (low risk), the operator's declaration (Emergency Management Plan) is sufficient;

- SAIL II, however, allows BVOLS operations only over rural areas or on the sea. It can be an initial step, but it does not allow transport operations over populated areas, obviously of greater interest for commercial logistics;

- For SAIL III and IV (medium risk), it is necessary to support the declaration with MoE (e.g., the Operations Manual and the processes to train pilots); at SAIL IV it is already possible to fly in BVLOS over urban areas for commercial transport of small packages with drones of contained size and weight;

- For SAIL V or VI (high risk), certificates issued by Notified Bodies (e.g., RINA) or the EASA Type Certificate are required. This may be necessary in the future for greater operational flexibility.

EASA recommendations, which ENAC considers mandatory, provide for the need for Design Verification (DV) conducted by EASA at high costs (Euro 247/h person) for SAIL III or IV.

The qualification plan of Apr Aerospace s.r.l. at ENAC and EASA, the acquired SAIL II certification, and the ongoing SAIL IV

In 2021, during the testing phases, all necessary applications for the release of ENAC and EASA certifications were submitted.

At the current state, Apr Aerospace s.r.l. is the only operator that, since the entry into force of the new regulation on 1.1.2020, has obtained the EASA SAIL II certification and has the complex SAIL IV certification pending release, which will lead to the authorization for overflight of areas and inhabited centers.

These phases are divided as follows:

Phase 1 (Simple Controlled Flight) 2020

It did not require approvals from ENAC or EASA.
VLOS in a segregated airspace, or in uncontrolled and unsegregated airspace, always in VLOS, below 400 feet AGL on unpopulated areas.
SAIL category (Specific Assurance and Integrity Level) not applicable (already done with demonstration flights in Alessandria)

Phase 2 (PDRA G01)

This Phase has already brought Apr Aerospace s.r.l. into the "specific" category, which is the minimum condition necessary to allow, during the following phases, commercial air transport operations in BVLOS.
The SAIL 2 certification was already obtained in October 2021 and effectively entailed the exhaustion of the operational authorizations issued by ENAC where, before moving on to the examination of EASA, it is necessary that the SAIL level is not higher than II with short-range BVLOS right over a sparsely populated airspace (uncontrolled terrestrial area) and in uncontrolled airspace with the possibility of transporting loads.

Phase 3 (BVLOS over the sea)

Apr Aerospace s.r.l. has also already passed Phase 3 with long-range test flights as in this phase the SAIL is still II, therefore not requiring any Design Verification from EASA, but only the submission of the risk assessment to ENAC, as this operation is not covered by any PDRA, due to the long range.
Right to take off and land in VLOS in populated areas. Cruise in BVLOS over the sea up to 50 km.

Phase 4 (BVLOS over populated areas)

The proposed Phase IV is in progress and is the first that has led to an increase in SAIL from II to IV and therefore requires Design Verification from EASA.
This will be necessary to allow BVLOS operations above populated areas, thus gaining greater operational flexibility and greater commercial relevance.

Future phases (BVLOS in densely populated areas without limitations for air traffic)

Up to Phase VI, access to airspace would involve operational limitations in terms of accessible airspace, particularly in volumes of airspace with dense air traffic, such as Northern Italy.