Lorenzo Murzilli is an Aerospace Engineer and an accomplished innovation leader with a specialised focus on aviation, airspace modernisation, system safety and drones. His career in aviation began by working with Leonardo in Italy and Pilatus in Switzerland before he joined the Swiss FOCA as a certification engineer for five years and, following that led the Innovation Department for five years.
His involvement with the Swiss FOCA as well as JARUS and GUTMA largely contributed to today’s regulatory framework and drone regulations, including developing the SORA methodology and the world's first private public U-space establishment in Switzerland. He is the co-founder and CEO of Murzilli Consulting, the digital drone consulting agency that focuses on regulatory compliance in the existing and emerging aviation sectors.
He also serves on multiple drone start-up boards as an advisory board member and teaches at the Zurich Zurich University of Applied Sciences.
Lorenzo is an aviation enthusiast who graduated with a Master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 2005 at Politecnico di Torino, Italy’s oldest technical university, renowned for its engineering and architecture courses. His final project was based on the Environment and Road Tunnel Fire Team at the Ecole Centrale de Lyon.
Moving on from his studies, Lorenzo began his career working on military projects such as the Typhoon Fighter and C27J transport aircraft at Leonardo, previously known as Alenia Aeronautica, in Italy.
After one year, he decided it was time for a new challenge and relocated to Switzerland, where he worked at Pilatus Aircraft. His new position proved to be a pivotal move in his career, as he played a crucial part in the development of the PC-24 business jet as team leader for the aircraft's safety and reliability aspects. In his years at Pilatus, Lorenzo was also introduced to the challenges of general management with his role as Deputy Head of the Reliability and Safety Department.
His work was recognised by the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA), and in 2011, Lorenzo was given the opportunity to join their airworthiness team. He worked as a Product Certification Manager as well as a panel expert in several fields, including development assurance and safety assessment, hydro-mechanical systems and power plant and propulsion systems. During this time, Lorenzo became a member of the SAE S-18 committee, dedicating his time and energy to the development of guidelines, including processes, methods, and tools, to accomplish safety assessments of aeroplanes and related systems and equipment.
One significant project during this period was the Solar Impulse. Two pilots, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, wanted to complete the first around-the-world flight without fuel, overflying cities such as Cairo and San Francisco. As the project was created in Switzerland, the Swiss FOCA, with Lorenzo as the safety team lead, was the authority responsible for defining the framework to ensure the flight’s safety. This pioneer solar-powered aircraft sparked Lorenzo’s passion for unconventional safety solutions, which developed in parallel with the rise of drone technology.
In 2015, representing the Swiss FOCA, Lorenzo joined the Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems (JARUS). As the leader of JARUS WG-6, Lorenzo’s vision led to the creation of the Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) framework. This was a significant advancement in drone regulations, and SORA was later implemented by EASA and many other states around the world as a means of compliance. Since this development, Lorenzo has often been referred to as the ‘father of SORA’. Lorenzo’s role in JARUS WG-6 showed leadership and dedication, and with over 100 professionals, the group developed global recommendations for drone operation safety and risk management.
Lorenzo became a founding member of the Global UTM Association (GUTMA) in 2016. GUTMA’s collective goal was the development of a harmonised framework for UTM development globally. He served as the Treasurer and Member of the Executive Board. One of his key achievements was signing the Memorandum of Understanding with the GSMA and the establishment of the Aerial Connectivity Joint Activity (ACJA), the only globally available platform for telecom providers and aviation professionals to collaborate on common standards.
From 2017, Lorenzo led the development of the Innovation and Digitalisation Unit at the Swiss FOCA. During this time, he led the development of drone regulations, approved ground-breaking drone operations such as the Matternet pioneer flights over Lugano and Zurich, and, as Co-Chair of the Swiss FOCA RPAS Working Group, he oversaw the risk management process and policy for all critical drone operations in Switzerland.
During his time at FOCA, Lorenzo created and became the Programme Manager of the Swiss U-space Implementation (SUSI). SUSI is a unique public-private partnership agreement between the Swiss FOCA and more than 30 industry stakeholders to collaboratively create U-space services in Switzerland.
In this role, Lorenzo shepherded the creation of the European-first Remote Identification service for drones. Remote ID has since been made mandatory by EASA for all drones and UAS in the European Union. Lorenzo has been a vital part of this process and is still providing regulatory support to government authorities such as the UK Civil Aviation Authority.
Lorenzo’s role in defining drone regulations extended well beyond Switzerland with his active and pivotal participation in the EASA RMT.0230 activity, where he was joined by a selected group of leaders in the European drone and aviation industry to help shape the European drone regulation 2019/947 and 945 and the U-space regulatory framework.
Lorenzo also maintained healthy relationships with colleagues from overseas. His efforts culminated in 2020 with the signature of a historical Declaration of Intent between the Swiss FOCA and the FAA, formalising the cooperation between the two authorities for the development of drone regulatory frameworks.
These combined experiences led to the creation of Murzilli Consulting. Lorenzo initiated the idea of a global consulting agency to support new start-ups and established companies venturing into aviation. He initially thought the needs of the market were limited to regulatory strategy consulting. He soon realised there was a much deeper need to operationalise and implement technically complex projects in such a heavily regulated environment. It was then that he knew it was time to scale up.
What began in 2020 as a solo venture soon grew successfully. As of 2023, Murzilli Consulting is a team of 15 with 3 European office locations. The drone consultancy company offers several customised consulting services to enable scaling within the drone industry including initial project assessment, UAS C-Class and CE marking, Light UAS Operator Certification (LUC) in Europe and more. With Lorenzo’s leadership, the company has developed a reputation as an expert outsourced regulatory drone consultancy firm for government authorities such as the UK CAA in collaboration with Baringa and private entities such as blueflite worldwide.
Lorenzo has also been a guest lecturer at the Zürich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) and at the Xihua University, as well as hosting several online and in-person training courses on SORA and U-space Fundamentals.
Like the drone industry itself, Lorenzo is always looking toward the future and how Murzilli Consulting can adapt to the market’s needs. He credits DroneTalks, Murzilli Consulting’s sister company, as a valued source to enhance the company’s visibility and outreach potential.
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If you would like to see Lorenzo in action as a regulatory expert, use the following links:
Bundesamt für Zivilluftfahrt BAZL OFAC UFAC FOCA:
FAI - World Air Sports Federation:
AERIAL FUTURES: DRONETALKS: