Yesterday at EBACE Piaggio Aero (Booth 6134) launched the Avanti EVO, a new business version of the twin-turboprop P.180 Avanti that promises additional performance, greater passenger comfort and enhanced safety features. Fitted with Piaggio-designed winglets, redesigned engine nacelles, a reshaped front wing (canards) and five-bladed scimitar propellers, the Avanti EVO is more eye-catching than ever. However, the aerodynamic refinements have been undertaken to provide significant performance benefits.
With a maximum speed of 402 ktas, the Avanti EVO is the fastest business turboprop available, and its speed performance is in the same category as many light jets. Improved performance allows the EVO to climb 3 percent faster to its ceiling of 41,000 feet and range in standard configuration is increased by 17 percent to 1,470 nm. Piaggio has also introduced an optional increased range configuration that pushes the EVO’s reach out to 1,720 nm. The EVO retains the Avanti’s short-field and steep-approach capability, allowing it to operate from runways of less than 1,000 meters.
The Avanti EVO cuts emissions by 3 percent compared to the older models. Piaggio Aero claims that its CO2 emissions are roughly half that of the Learjet 85 and a quarter that of a heavy aircraft such as the Gulfstream G450.
For the one or two pilots that are seated in the cockpit, the Avanti EVO offers several enhancements, including tablet-supported electronic flight bag and a new landing gear with anti-skid carbon brakes and digital steering. The aircraft is equipped with a Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite.
Internally the Avanti EVO has had a complete makeover, with new seats from Iacobucci HF and a finish provided by luxury outfitters Poltrona Frau. A new cabin air-conditioning system and new lighting further enhance passenger experience. An important development is a cut in cabin noise by 20 percent, provided by the adoption of the new propellers. At the same time, external noise is reduced by 68 percent, further enhancing the EVO’s environmental credentials.
Complementing the launch of the Avanti EVO is a new integrated life-cycle program known as Parts Total Care. This is a tailorable offer that allows Avanti EVO customers to cover their spare parts requirements and costs with greater predictability through a competitive rate of $235 per flight-hour. Parts Total Care is one of a number of service network improvements being introduced.
Piaggio flew a company prototype with the EVO’s redesigned engine nacelles and propellers in spring 2013, and in the fall began testing the winglets as well. Much of the certification requirements have been achieved with this aircraft, with just a few elements such as the environmental control system remaining for testing on the first production machine.
With a 2014 list price of $7,395,000, the Avanti EVO has already secured three orders. The first is due for delivery to an existing Avanti II operator in India. The third customer is in the U.S., and Piaggio expects FAA approval to follow closely behind that from EASA. The aircraft may be delivered in time to make its debut at the NBAA show in October.
Production of the Avanti will be transferred to a state-of-the-art factory at Villanova d’Albenga, which opens in August. This was constructed thanks to a major investment in the company by Mubadala, which earlier this month increased its stake to 98.05 percent.
Piaggio Aero had already re-energized the development of its P.180 Avanti twin by launching versions for military surveillance, in the form of the unmanned P.1HH HammerHead and MPA maritime patrol aircraft. The EVO represents a far more extensive range of improvements of the original business aircraft design, however.