Grand Prix aces boost Avanti’s increase in speed
Piaggio Aero Industries’ speedy Avanti II, long acknowledged as the fastest turboprop aircraft in the world, is now even faster.
At EBACE, Piaggio announced that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has granted approval for installation of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-66B in the Avanti II, giving the twin-engine pusher a maximum cruise speed of 402 knots (Mach 0.70).
To put an exclamation point on the company’s description of the Avanti II as the “Ferrari of the Sky,” Grand Prix driver Felipe Massa and Piero Ferrari, chairman of Piaggio Aero Industries, were present here yesterday at the Piaggo booth (No. 108).
The PT6A-66B engines deliver approximately 8 to 13 percent more power in cruise and climb, while remaining in the basic thrust mode on the ground.
The first Avanti II with the engine upgrade was delivered in March to Transport ’AIR, a charter operator based in Avignon, France. The company has three more Avanti IIs on order.
The engines are part of the most recent Avanti II upgrades:
• New integrated avionics reduce pilot workload and increase situational awareness with a fully integrated Pro Line 21 package.
• An mtow increase to 12,100 pounds to allow a 550-pound payload increase without need of changes to the airframe or landing gear.
• A max zero-fuel-weight increase of 300 pounds, to permit better payload capability.
• Finally, a cabin upgrade has resulted in a more “stylish and more comfortable” environment.
Piaggio Aero’s flagship Avanti II fleet worldwide currently numbers more than 125, and there is a backlog of 85 aircraft with the new engines, valued at more than $550 million.