The Italdron airship


A unique request that, at first, seemed impossible to fulfil?

Safely flying over and filming an area holding 150,000 people, in order to record all the phases of Italy’s top live concert of the year: the singer/songwriter Ligabue at Campovolo.

It is hard to give an idea of the difficulty of such an operation. To start with, the regulations of the ENAC, the Italian civil aviation authority, prohibit flights over gatherings of people, as well as night flights, but the temptation to find a workable solution was just too strong.

A variety of approaches were followed, depending on the different operating scenarios, such as the time and the number of people in the area.

“We used a drone,” explained one of the pilots, “during the set-up phases, when the producers asked us to film the backstage activities”. The Campovolo airfield was converted for the event into a concert space, with the issue of a “notice to airmen” that removed all flight limitations.

We used the SAPR HIGHONE 4HSE as the gates to the area were being opened and as the crowd entered. We could fly, over the public area, thanks to an authorisation for flight over critical zones, and as long as a safety buffer was maintained with the crowd.

As night fell, 150,000 people were waiting for Ligabue to come out on stage. A white anchored balloon bearing the Italdron logo, filled with helium and secured to the ground with a safety cable, looked down on the crowd from above. More than 5 metres in size, it was able to lift (in addition to its weight) a 3.5 kg payload consisting of a mirror-less 4k stabilised camera operated remotely by a brushless, 3-axis gimbal.

A broadcast model, point-to-point transmitter able to ensure a low lag time while covering a distance of 1 kilometre was used for the live HD broadcast. The dirigible was directed by two propellers capable of moving it in any direction, thanks to an ingenious system of electric propulsion. It was able to stay in the air for a number of hours, offering a breathtaking point of view that would be impossible to obtain otherwise.