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APR online pilot certificate “Non-critical operations”

On March 5th, ENAC enabled a section on its website dedicated to obtaining the online license for drone pilots “Non-critical operations“. The license is also valid after the entry into force of the European regulation (flight authorization for sub-categories A1 and A2 – Open category see also the article “European EASA drone regulation – Catg.Open“), from January 1st, 2021.

In the period 5th March 2020 – 25th June 2020, 6 attempts per month, 2 per day, were available to each drone pilot to obtain the license. In fact, by answering exactly 30 out of 40 multiple choice questions, the drone license was obtained.

The payment of the “fees” in the amount of € 31.00 for the certificate took place only after passing the exam.

With a press release available on its website, ENAC announced

From 4.00 PM on 25/06/2020 and until 6/07/2020 at 3:00 PM it will not be possible to undertake new exam tests”,

In fact, the service has been suspended, in order to prepare the system for the next 6th July 2020. Date on which the procedure will change.

Drone license online from 6th July

From July 6th, in fact, in order to obtain the online license, only 4 attempts will be available instead of 6 and the fee will be paid before the online tests are carried out.

If all 4 attempts are unsuccessful, then another € 31.00 will have to be paid for four more possibilities, and so on.

It is therefore clear that the future scenario, compared to the advantages of the “promo” made by ENAC, is completely different, given that correctly answering the famous 30 questions is not really simple for several reasons.

What is for the online pilot certificate “Non-critical operations”

Before going into the maze of questions and pitfalls for the online drone license, it is good to clarify, if necessary, what the certificate for “Non-critical Operations” consists of.

“Non-critical operations” means those operations carried out by the drone pilot for hobby or work, in compliance with the following limits:

  • VLOS visual flight (see also: Drones – Acronyms and Terms)
  • maximum height 120 (A.G.L. on the sea level),
  • flight 150 meters away from congested areas (buildings, highways, roads, etc.)
  • flight 50 meters away from people,
  • never fly over crowds of people.

So the online license – or the UAVs pilot certificate for “Non-critical operations” – enables the pilot to fly in compliance with these limits.

SAPR con APR
UAVS Pilot – Image taken from pixabay.com – free for commercial use – Autore Lukas Bieri

For professional activities that go beyond the above limits, a license for “CRO critical operations” is required, which however follows another procedure, and which in any case requires the UAVs pilot certificate “Non-critical operations”.

Online drone license: The questions

We said that there are 30 questions that must be answered exactly to pass the test and reach the desired 75%.

The time to test is 1 hour, more than enough to review the answers and questions a second time if necessary.

Be careful! If 2 points are assigned to each correct answer, 1 point is subtracted from each incorrect answer, while no point is removed for each unanswered question.

So if you have answered for example 32 questions, and on these you have made two wrong, the score will be: 60-2 = 58 or 58/40 equal to 72.5% and no license !!!

In fact, you must not only answer but you must also be a little strategist, as in this case the saying “Melius est abundare quam deficit” does not apply because “abundare” could come back to haunt you.

It is better to answer 30 questions carefully and correctly than to risk!

Also remember that in the event of failure, the same questions will not be asked on the next test, as they are handled dynamically and randomly.

Finally, it is not uncommon for you to find two or more consecutive questions on the same topic or even on the same “topic”.

Online drone license: Answers, deceptions, errors

To be clear, and those of you who have taken the test know it, several quizzes proposed by ENAC for the achievement of the “non-critical operations” pilot certificate are:

  • wrong questions,
  • have grammatical errors,
  • in a number of cases the three answers are wrong,
  • several questions are misleadingly asked.

In short, there is really everything. Frankly, this was not what we expected from ENAC, however this is the scenario and I don’t think it will change from 6th July.

In compliance with the contents of the ENAC website, for which the test taker undertakes not to divulge the questions in any way, it is not possible for me to give examples in relation to the points previously mentioned, but it is good that you are psychologically prepared!

Online drone license: What to study, how to study and how to simulate the exam

One thing is certain: you have to study and for good! Although a good deal of luck is needed!

The study material is made available by ENAC and consists of three sets of handouts (available only in Italian):

  • Syllabus, which contains all aspects related to operations, security, air rules, privacy, etc.,
  • Regulation “Mezzi aerei a pilotaggio remoto” Ed. 3
  • Circolare ATM-09 – Remotely piloted aircraft Airspace use criteria.

Due to the contents of the legal policy of the ENAC website, it is not possible to link the above documents, which must be searched on the ENAC website by the reader. The list of documents however, nevertheless facilitates the reader in their search.

The advice is to carefully read Syllabus and review, read the ATM-09 circular, read the ed.3 regulation and try to make quizzes through the site quizvds.it drones base.

They are not the same as the exam but very close, they range through all the subjects provided and allow you to check your preparation.

One more thing! The SPID!

Access to the quiz section of the online drone license is reserved only to those who own the SPID (Public Digital Identity System), so use the days until next July 6 to obtain it. There are various providers, some for payment, others for free!

Good luck!


Note regarding the images: The use of images is exclusively for the purpose of a better understanding of the contents of the article. The APR pilot image is taken from pixabay.com, free for commercial use, with no attribution request. The author is Lukas Bieri. The highlighted image is taken from Non critical Operational license obtained.

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Last Updated on/Ultimo aggiornamento – 28/07/2020

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