The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale and National Aeronautic Association have certified five speed records set by a Piaggio Avanti. The records for average speed over a recognized course were set earlier this year with pilot Joe Ritchie and copilot Steve Fossett at the controls. The records include:
• San Diego to Charleston, S.C.–475.2 knots (U.S. and world intercontinental records in C-1 unlimited class and C-1.e class, for aircraft weighing 6,614 to 13,228 pounds)
• El Paso to Fort Worth, Texas–493.3 knots (C-1.e class)
• Fort Worth to Atlanta–500.8 knots (C-1 and C-1.e classes)
• El Paso to Charleston–493.2 knots (C-1.e class).
The San Diego-to-Charleston flight not only set U.S. and world speed records but broke the former Los Angeles to New York transcontinental record of 395.21 knots set by Chuck Yeager in 1986 in a Piper 400LS. The lapsed time for the Avanti’s coast-to-coast trip was 3:51:52. “I’m madly in love with this airplane,” said Ritchie, the aircraft’s owner and operator.