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.
Monaco-based Boutsen Aviation, whose president is former Formula 1 racing driver Thierry Boutsen, will take delivery today (if all goes to plan) of an Airbus Corporate Jetliner (ACJ), which will be outfitted with a Prestige VIP interior by Jet Aviation in Basel, Switzerland.
An STC’d RVSM avionics installation for the twin-turboprop Piaggio P.180 Avanti will be provided by Stevens Aviation of Greenville, S.C. Stevens was also selected by Piaggio to provide the interior installation and exterior paint for the airplane. Completions by Stevens are already under way on seven Avantis.
Piaggio Aero Industries, which emerged from receivership in 1998, found a new lease on life for its sleek P.180 Avanti business turboprop with the establishment of Piaggio America two years ago. A visit to the U.S. by Piaggio Aero president Piero Ferrari earlier this year brought fresh enthusiasm and a promise of new things to come. Speaking with AIN, Ferrari expounded on his expectations for the Avanti.
As expected, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court last month signed an order approving the sale of Mooney Aircraft Corp. to AASI of Long Beach, Calif. AASI officials also disclosed that they intend to change AASI’s name to Mooney Aerospace Group and will operate the renamed Mooney Airplane Co. as a subsidiary.
Innovative Solutions & Support continues its aggressive certification schedule for RVSM equipment for business aircraft.
This year and last were not kind to the startup airplane manufacturers, those OEM wannabes that are–or in some cases were–attempting to grab the brass ring of success by riding on the wings of their first turbine-powered airplanes. It takes hundreds of millions of dollars to run the new-aircraft triathlon of development, certification and production.
Fractional operator Avantair, launched at the NBAA Convention in September as Skyline Aviation Services, has two sold-out Piaggio Avantis in service. The company, based at Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, N.Y., expects to put two more Avantis into service this month, with a fifth to arrive next month.
Less than a month after Carl Chen, former chairman, president and CEO of AASI, suddenly replaced Jack Braly as president and CEO of Sino Swearingen, the company hired Gene Comfort as v-p of sales and marketing. Comfort worked for Chen as executive v-p and general manager at AASI. Sino Swearingen’s SJ30-2 business jet development program has suffered many delays since its inception more than a decade ago.