Twenty years after it was conceived by legendary aircraft designer Ed Swearingen, the Sino-Swearingen SJ30-2 is making its European debut here at EBACE. In its long march to the market, the seven-seat jet finally received a type certificate from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in October. Last month it rounded the approval process off with clearance for flight into known-icing conditions and for its cabin configuration.
Business Aviation » Business Aviation Aircraft
News and issues relating to business, aircraft, primarily turbine-engine powered airplanes and helicopters.
During a recent visit to Piaggio’s Italian home, EBACE Convention News got a first-hand demonstration of how the P180 Avanti can enable business people to make trips that would have been infeasible by other means. Having briefed journalists at its Genoa headquarters on the northwest coast of Italy, Piaggio wanted them to visit the famous Ferrari sports car factory in Maranello near Modena in the center of the country.
Almost 20 years since the P180 Avanti made its first flight in August 1986, the eye-catching twin pusherprop at last seems to have established itself in the business aviation community. Piaggio acknowledges that the radical new design arrived in the marketplace at the wrong time in the early 1990s and its slow initial sales almost killed off the company.
Piaggio markets the P180 Avanti as offering close to jet speed and a generously proportioned cabin that can seat up to nine passengers (but more typically is configured for six or seven). Innovative aerodynamics give the aircraft its cutting edge, featuring laminar flow optimized throughout the low-drag fuselage.
Piaggio Aero Industries (Booth No. 1644) is accelerating production of its P180 Avanti II twin pusherprop after finally completing certification by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration at the end of March. By early April, 103 Avantis had been delivered (mainly the original Avanti I version, and with 61 going to U.S. customers and 42 to Europe) and just over 100 more are on order, with the backlog stretching into 2008.
Airbus has found a ready market for its latest corporate jet, and exclusive cabin outfitter Lufthansa Technik (Booth No. 744) is happily reaping the benefit of what appears to be a particularly promising new market niche for fast-turnaround completions using standardized components and cabin layouts.
The first delivered Piaggio Aero P180 Avanti II will be covered by Jet Support Services, Inc.’s (JSSI) Tip-to-Tail hourly maintenance cost program. The twin pusherprop has been operated by Swiss company Fly Wings. The Tip-to-Toe package, which covers both the airframe and the Avanti II’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-66 engines, is jointly offered by JSSI (Booth No. 221) and Piaggio Aero (Booth No. 1644).
Cessna Aircraft (Booth No. 602) has announced the sale to two undisclosed customers of eight Caravan turboprops. Four of the aircraft will be outfitted with the Oasis corporate interior for an unidentified Russian buyer, which will use them to augment its Moscow-based fleet of corporate helicopters. The other four are bound for the Middle East.
Bob Pond, who owns the first production Piaggio P.180 Avanti, has ordered a new Avanti II to replace it. He plans to add the superseded airplane to the 25-plus aircraft in the Palm Springs Air Museum in California, which he founded in 1996 after retiring as CEO of Advance Machine Co.
Embraer has selected Thales’ integrated electronic standby instrument (IESI) for the Phenom 100 and 300 business jets. The Thales IESI already flies aboard every other Embraer model, from the ERJ 135 regional twinjet to the Embraer 190, launched in a business jet derivative here at EBACE on Tuesday.