Piaggio Aero Industries has confirmed that its new Avanti II model will replace the existing production model of its twin turboprop pusher aircraft from Serial Number 105 later this year.
From next year the Avanti II will feature the upgraded PT6-66B engines that Pratt & Whitney Canada is now developing. Piaggio commercial senior vice president Massimo Isidori has also hinted at further undisclosed developments to the type.
The new -66B powerplant will add 10 knots to the aircraft’s cruise speed at between 31,000 and 41,000 feet. The existing model and the early examples of the Avanti II are powered by the PT6-66A turboprops.
The main new feature of the Avanti II is its lighter and more user-friendly Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite. This features three 10- by 8-inch liquid- crystal adaptive flight displays, the FMS 3000 flight management system and AHS 3000 altitude heading reference system.
The new model is certified to carry up to nine passengers and for single-pilot operation. Its maximum cruise speed has been increased from Mach 0.68 to Mach 0.70, and it will operate at altitudes of up to 41,000 feet.
Other improvements to the latest Avanti include an increased max zero fuel weight from 9,000 to 9,800 pounds, and a boosted mtow from 11,550 to 12,050 pounds. This increases the aircraft’s useful load to the tune of one or two passengers for longer-range trips. Current maximum range is around 1,600 nm.
Early next month, New Jersey-based fractional ownership provider Avantair is due to take delivery of its 15th Avanti, the 100th of the type.
Piaggio holds orders for 70 Avantis, enough to keep the production line busy through 2007. Output is set for 20 this year, 26 next year and 30 in 2007.
In June an undisclosed private French client purchased an Avanti II through Boutsen Aviation, the company’s sales agent for France, Monaco and Belgium. This aircraft will be delivered in January 2008.
Meanwhile, the Omni Group has been appointed exclusive sales representative for the Avanti and the smaller P166s in Spain, Portugal and all Portuguese-speaking countries except Brazil. The Lisbon, Portugal-based company is also expected to become an approved service center for the Piaggio aircraft.
Piaggio also reached an agreement for Jet Support Services (JSSI) to provide its Tip-to-Tail support program for Avanti and Avanti II operators. The per-flight hour package can cover both scheduled and unscheduled work.