Evo-lution Improves Piaggio Avanti Performance
Piaggio Aero’s new Avanti Evo aircraft is making its first appearance outside Europe this week at the LABACE show. The new model has been designed to deliver improved performance and a quieter ride–both inside and out–compared with the existing Avanti II twin turboprop. The Evo is being shown here at Congonhas Airport in the static display area of the Italian airframer’s Brazilian distributor Algar Aviation.
The distinctive aircraft’s new features include a redesigned forward wing and engine nacelles, as well new five-blade scimitar propellers developed for Piaggio by Hartzell Propeller. Even more noticeable are the drag-reducing winglets that have been added following flight trials last year.
Collectively, these changes have generated significant performance benefits over the current production model, such as a 3-percent faster climb to the 41,000-foot ceiling and a 17-percent increase in maximum range to 1,720 nm (3,183 km). The Evo offers a 402-knot top speed (744 km/h) and can operate from runways as short as around 3,000 feet (914 m).
The aircraft can be flown by one or two pilots in a cockpit equipped with a Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite with a tablet-based electronic flight bag. The Evo also features a new landing gear with carbon, anti-skid brakes and digital steering.
Hartzell’s new fully feathering, constant-speed propellers are 85 inches (216 cm) in diameter, reversible and hydraulically controlled. Significantly, external noise has been reduced by 68 percent compared with the current Avanti, and cabin noise will be 20 percent less. The Avanti has long been known for its high external-noise level, and the improvement will be a welcome change for operators.
“The Hartzell Propeller team worked hard as RPM [revolutions per minute] was reduced from 2,000 to 1,800 to achieve the desired external noise reduction, while maintaining Piaggio’s exceptional flight performance,” explained Hartzell president Joe Brown. “The Evo’s engineering and design challenge was verified by thermal testing of the exhaust temperatures over the pusher props.”
The Evo is also more environmentally friendly with a 3 percent reduction in emissions, allowing it to operate with roughly half the carbon dioxide emissions of a comparably-sized jet. The aircraft is powered by a pair of 850-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66B engines.
The Avanti’s passenger cabin also has evolved with a complete redesign featuring a new interior by Poltrona Frau and seats from Iacobucci HF. Piaggio also has invested in improved lighting and air conditioning.
The Evo was first unveiled at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in Geneva. At last month’s Farnborough International Airshow, Hong Kong-based Bravia Capital became the launch customer for the new model when it signed a contract for 10 aircraft, with options for 40 more.