Italy is experiencing something of a revolution – the promulgation of the Law 133 of 2010 has brought the world of ultralight flight into a new dimension. The law provides for a new category of Ultralight aircraft, which are now identified as either “basic” or “advanced”.
Those in the basic category will still be bound by all the previously-existing limitations, i.e. limited entry into controlled airspace and operation only within class G airspace at a maximum height of 1000 ft AGL, while those which are accredited as “advanced” become almost equivalent to General Aviation, and are allowed to operate from the smaller airports, transit in controlled airspace and request ATC services.
In order to be categorized as “advanced”, the aircraft must comply with a number of requirements, undergo regular scheduled maintenance and meet a minimum specification for its avionics. The pilot too must meet the “advanced” requirements, which include a communications licence and a minimum number of flight hours.
The new law seems likely to stimulate a revival for small Italian airports, many of which are currently going through a period of crisis due to the high costs of General Aviation as a whole and the venerable age of most of the aircraft in the flying club fleets.