Italy’s Piaggio Aero has introduced a third cabin choice for its six- to seven-seat Avanti II twin-turboprop, and expects to almost double production this year by ramping up its manufacturing and outfitting processes.
It’s fitting that the first museum to which Raytheon Aircraft is donating a Beech Starship–the Kansas Aviation Museum–is located in Wichita, the city where the composite twin-turboprop pusher was conceived, designed and built. In June Raytheon Aircraft disclosed to AIN (July, page 1) that it planned to destroy all 50 Starships produced because continued support is cost prohibitive.
Dwarfed by other aircraft in the static display area, the LH-10 Ellipse is only 17 feet long and has a wingspan of just over 26 feet. But what it lacks in size it makes up for with performance. Powered by a single 100-hp Rotax 921 ULS, the Ellipse can cruise at 200 knots and cover France from coast to coast without refueling. It burns avgas 98 at the rate of 5.28 gph, which is a great deal less than a motor car.
Sino Swearingen plans to resume flight testing the SJ30-2 early this month with the second conforming prototype (S/N 3), followed within the next 90 days by S/N 4. Flight testing came to an abrupt and tragic halt on April 26 when the only conforming prototype (S/N 2) crashed during flutter tests, killing pilot Carroll Beeler.
The Beech Starship fleet is being destroyed at the behest of manufacturer Raytheon, which owns 40 of the 50 production airplanes built between 1988 and 1995.
Piaggio Aero Industries is developing a special version of the P.180 Avanti for the Italian air force intended for navaid flight inspections. Private firm Norwegian Special Mission will supply its Unifis 3000 inspection terminals for the reconfigured airplanes, due to enter service in 2010. Italy’s Aeronautica Militaire 14th Stormo is providing four Avantis from its fleet for upgrades with the flight inspection gear.
There is a line in an old episode of the television series “M*A*S*H” in which one of the doctors, informed of a patient’s recovery, remarks, “I thought he was dead.” To which the other doctor replies, “He was. But he got better.”
On Sunday under a humid central Florida sky, a Piaggio P.180 Avanti settled to the runway at Orlando Executive Airport, setting a speed record for Class C-1.E/2 aircraft (twin turboprops 6,614 lb to 13,228 lb).
With delivery of a reconfigured Piaggio Avanti twin-turboprop pusher on September 19 and a second green Avanti expected this month, Stevens Aviation will bring its total output of the model to three. The October aircraft is the second of a series of seven completions being performed at Stevens’ Donaldson Center in Greenville, S.C., under an agreement with Piaggio America.
The developer of the single-turboprop pusher Jetcruzer 500 gave holders of its Class A and B warrants an additional month to convert their warrants, purchased five years ago when Long Beach, Calif.-based AASI held its initial public offering, to common stock. AASI’s stock, which was offered at $5 per share in December 1996, has been trading well under $1 for more than a year (at press time it was trading at about 25 cents). Said Dr.