Dubai Air Show

Piaggio is showcasing its Avanti II

 - December 11, 2006, 6:33 AM

Piaggio Aero Industries is showcasing the new Avanti II version of its distinctive twin pusherprop here at Dubai 2005 this week. But the Italian company is remaining tight-lipped about long-anticipated plans for a new light business jet.

The Avanti II completed European certification last month and delivery of the first new-version aircraft is to follow to an unnamed Swiss customer.

The outside appearance of the II is identical to the original Avanti, the main improvements being the Rockwell Collins ProLine 21 flight deck certified for Category II ILS approaches, and an increased takeoff weight combined with a lower empty weight, giving the new model a significant increase in payload/range and flexibility. Standard mtow remains at 11,550 pounds, but a new optional increase to 12,050 pounds is now available. The ProLine 21 flight deck includes the FMS 3000 flight management system, dual attitude heading reference systems (AHRS) and the GPS-4000A for en-route navigation and nonprecision approaches.

The slightly revamped new interior will contribute to the lower empty weight, which translates into a zero-fuel weight of 9,800 pounds versus 9,500 pounds for the previous version. The new maximum IFR range with four passengers is now 1,800 nm, about 200 nm more than previously.

The Avanti is certified for single-pilot operation and can carry up to nine passengers. The 2005 price of a normally equipped Avanti II is $6.27 million, up from $5.97 million for the earlier version.

The PT6A-66B engine with improved thermodynamic efficiency, adding about 10 knots to the airplane’s cruise speed at altitudes between 30,000 and 41,000 ft, will not be available for early Avanti IIs, which will be equipped with the current -66 version. Both versions are flat rated at sea level to 850 shp from 1,639 thermodynamic hp. Piaggio stresses that all Avantis can benefit in the future from the improved engine, as upgrading will be possible during major maintenance stops beginning next year.

From the outset the Avanti was  planned as an aircraft offering exceptional fuel efficiency. With its unusual fuselage shape and wing configuration, the Avanti II burns about 30 percent less fuel than a jet with a similar cabin size at speeds up to 395 knots. The aircraft is certified for approaches up to 9 degrees.

Piaggio president Piero Ferrari, who is also vice president of the Ferrari sports car company, is here at Dubai 2005 supporting the Avanti marketing effort.