Francesco PicardiSenior consultant for airworthiness engineering

As a senior consultant for airworthiness engineering, Francesco accompanies teams as they develop and design both crewed and uncrewed aircraft. A large part of his role is reviewing the type certification and design verification goals an organisation has as well as any and all coordination required to achieve these goals. This includes coordinating with tech teams that contribute directly to the design verification and type certification efforts. 

Francesco also can represent our clients in front of the relevant aviation authorities, or if the company would like to represent themselves, he can provide best practices from his own experiences representing top aviation organisations. 

All consultants at Murzilli Consulting are also heavily involved in any regulatory progress being made in the advanced aviation industry, which is why Francesco is currently working on the Shephard project funded by EASA. It is a research project that will help define the acceptable means of compliance for special conditions relating to UAS certification and design verification. 

About Francesco Picardi

Francesco Picardi, senior airworthiness consultant at Murzilli Consulting, was born in Naples in the Campania region in Southern Italy. It was there that he got his Master’s degree in aerospace engineering before working as a certification engineer at GEVEN. 

There, he was responsible for ETSO, or European Technical Standard Order products. If you are not already familiar with GEVEN, the company is based in Italy and manufactures the interiors of aeroplanes. It was there that Francesco belonged to a group of eight people who were in charge of engineering and certifying TSO aircraft seats. 

The certification process was created to reach an ETSO and then draft a DDP, which contained all basic certification and compliance requirements. 

After nearly 7 years, he decided to take the chance to work abroad by accepting a role at Zodiac Aerospace (now Safran Group) as an airworthiness engineer. At Zodiac Aerospace, he was able to gain more experience as a certification engineer by taking on small projects at the organisation along with his primary responsibilities.

Compliance verification and airworthiness engineer

It was at Bucher Leichtbau that Francesco finally was able to become a compliance verification engineer, and he moved to Switzerland to start his new position. Bucher Leichtbau builds aircraft interiors while also providing supplemental-type certificates for the interiors of rotorcraft and aircraft. One of the most exciting projects he did during this period happened in Hong Kong, where he was asked to install the stretcher on an A380 for Cathay Pacific. 

It did not take long for others looking for experienced aviation and certification professionals to recruit Francesco. He started the next step in his career at Rockwell Collins as a certification coordinator and deputy head of certification in the United Kingdom. There, he managed a team of around 14 people to support the Design Organisation Approval (DOA) processes and worked alongside the civil aviation authorities to advance the organisation’s operational goals. 

Still, he missed living in Switzerland and had heard of the rotorcraft manufacturer called Kopter Group, which was capable of making rotorcraft with 90% carbon fibre materials. Seeing his extensive experience, Kopter Group welcomed him with open arms, and Francesco moved directly into a leadership role where he was responsible for the entire certification coordination and support. He spent five years at Kopter Group before he started to hear rumours of young drone organisations pushing the limits of aviation. 

Moving into the drone industry

One Swiss organisation, in particular, caught his eye, as they had already managed to start implementing airborne operations to move medical supplies quickly between hospitals, ultimately saving lives. Francesco’s father had worked at a hospital, and the use case reminded him of his father’s passion to help people and inspired Francesco to look more into the emerging world of drones. 

During his search, he crossed paths with Lorenzo Murzilli, our CEO and founder, and was interested in the idea of working as a consultant to support the growing industry. As a compliance, certification and airworthiness engineer who has almost two decades of experience, the team recognised that Francesco could help lead our clients to success, whether that meant supporting their airworthiness efforts or certification/compliance needs for the design verification (DV) and type certification (TC).

Building mutual understanding through empathy

Francesco has lived and worked across all of Europe with additional projects in Asia, where he has always been involved in international and diverse teams. These experiences have taught him to value both differences in cultures and ways of working. He embraces these differences and understands that they are the main key to creating a collaborative environment. 

He continued by saying, 

“It’s important to remember that it’s not always going to be black and white — right or wrong. What I enjoy most about working at Murzilli Consulting is that we’re able to navigate these different mentalities in an organisation’s team through our years of experience and guide them to a solution. It’s a teaching and a learning experience that goes beyond just general consulting for certification, and it has a long-term impact on an organisation’s success” 

He also emphasised that working at Murzilli Consulting is one of the only ways to get an in-depth understanding of how the drone industry is developing. The team is comprised of an expert for every relevant field, so you always have someone to go to if you’re looking to learn more about a topic. For example, Pawel is an expert in software development, while Auréilie Joy is an expert in SORA and Richard is one of the most talented operations experts in the field. For Francesco, it’s everything related to certification and airworthiness. Lorenzo Murzilli, of course, is an all-around expert, so he’s able to jump into larger, more complex projects when needed.

The best memory he has of working at Murzilli Consulting is when he was talking to an important member of the certification team at EASA who told him that he would like to see more companies like ours in the market because it reduces the time the authorities spend on applications. He sees too many companies submitting applications that will simply never get approved since they have little to no understanding of how to fulfil the requirements set by authorities. By having consulting firms solely for the drone industry to guide growing organisations, everything is much more streamlined and less time is wasted, so everyone can move faster.  

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