Ever since 2006 with the dawn of the Piaggio Aero (Booth 261) Avanti II with its uprated engines and Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics, the company has been promising to correct the fast twin pusher turboprop’s shortcomings including high exterior noise levels, erratic environmental control system and locking brakes that have vexed pilots and owners alike since the plane was first introduced in 1990.
Sparkle Roll Jet chairman Ji Zingzhuo (left) celebrated delivery here at Farnborough of the first P.180 Avanti II Extended Range twin-turboprop with Carlo Logli, CEO of Piaggio Aero.
John Bingham, who has been president and CEO of Piaggio America and chief marketing officer at parent company Piaggio Aero Industries since 2009, left the company on May 30. The company said the move was a planned departure, but was delayed until after it had announced the upgraded Avanti Evo at EBACE in mid-May. Giuliano Felten, Piaggio Aero’s executive senior vice president of civil sales, took over as president and CEO of Piaggio America early last month.
A no-reserve auction held on January 10 in a warehouse just a mile from Avantair’s former Clearwater (Fla.) Airport headquarters raised a “couple of million” dollars for the estate of the bankrupt fractional aircraft company, according to auctioneer Starman Bros. Auctions. Citing rules under bankruptcy laws, auctioneer president Steve Starman told AIN that he couldn’t provide a more detailed account of the funds raised. The counsel for Avantair’s bankruptcy trustee didn’t respond to AIN’s queries asking for a more accurate figure.
Starman Brothers Auctions has released the time and address for Friday’s auction of assets from bankrupt Avantair. The auction will start at 9 a.m. at 13000 Automobile Boulevard, Suite 501, in Clearwater, Fla., with a preview day on Thursday at the same site. The auctioneer’s website has a complete listing of assets to be sold, including Piaggio Avanti fuselages, aircraft tugs, golf carts, automobiles, a custom motorcycle and various aircraft parts, shop equipment, office furniture and computers.
Sky Limo Air Charter of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., announced receiving FAA approval on Monday to place an ex-Avantair Piaggio Avanti (N306MS) on its Part 135 charter certificate, as well as the successful completion of the first charter flight with the aircraft yesterday. N306MS is one of five Avantis repossessed by Avantair creditor Midsouth Services before the Clearwater, Fla.-based fractional company entered bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy hearings for Avantair held last month in Tampa, Fla., brought some needed good news for share owners of the 56 ex-Avantair Piaggio Avantis who are hoping to return their aircraft to the sky. During one of the hearings, the Italian aircraft manufacturer unveiled a Service Bulletin (SB) that provides a path for owners of these Avantis to regain their airworthiness certificates, which were revoked by the FAA in late July and August.
New Jersey-based Part 145 repair station Teterboro Rams, which has mechanics’ liens on four ex-Avantair Piaggio Avanti turboprops in its possession, is “in negotiations with two groups [of owners] to release two of the aircraft,” Rams co-owner Dennis Espinosa told AIN. The FAA revoked the airworthiness certificates of all 56 ex-Avantair Avantis not long after the fractional provider was declared insolvent in late July.
Palm Beach, Fla.-based Piaggio America–the North American representative for Piaggio Aero, the Italian company that manufactures the Avanti twin turboprop–will create an “OEM-trained team with the support of additional specialists furnished from Italy” to offer restoration services to fractional share owners of Avantis grounded by the bankruptcy of Avantair, Piaggio America president and CEO John Bingham told AIN yesterday.
Rockwell Collins and Piaggio announced an upgrade program for the Piaggio Avanti twin turboprop. The program, available from Ruag Aviation, allows operators to upgrade their Pro Line 4 avionics to Pro Line 21. The Pro Line 21 P180 cockpit will be equipped with three or four 10-inch by 8-inch LCDs and Rockwell Collins’s Integrated Flight Information System, plus a new FMS and GPS-4000 that enables Waas LPV and space-based augmentation system with vertical guidance approaches.
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