Breaking from its single-airplane fleet of Piaggio Avanti twin turboprops, Fairfield, N.J.-based fractional provider Avantair has added two new Beechcraft Premier I light jets as core airplanes. Avantair CEO Steven Santo told AIN that the jets were added since his company has been unable to add Avantis fast enough as core airplanes.
Piaggio Avanti, Eagle, Colo., Jan. 15, 2007–Landing at Eagle County Regional Airport, the ATP-certified pilot of Piaggio N17PA reduced power, but before going into reverse, the airplane swerved. The pilot applied rudder, but the right tire blew out and he lost directional control. The Avanti veered off the right side of the runway and hit a snow bank, crushing the left wingtip and fracturing the canard surface.
At press time, nothing was said to be finalized, but Rockwell Collins and Piaggio were working on a deal to offer Pro Line avionics in the Avanti, according to a spokesman for the Italian airframer. The turboprop twin currently has older Collins avionics.
Piaggio America recently moved its North American headquarters into the Jet Aviation facility overlooking the ramp at West Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), Fla. According to Piaggio America president Tom Appleton, the company moved to PBI from its Greenville, S.C. facility in response to recent company growth. The move increased office-space capacity by more than 30 percent and also has made more hangar space available.
FlightSafety International is scheduled to deliver the first simulator for the Piaggio Avanti to its West Palm Beach, Fla. facility next September. FlightSafety said this simulator will represent the new Avanti II, the planned successor to the basic model featuring more powerful PT6 engines, Collins Pro Line 21 avionics and an increased mtow.
Pilatus and Piaggio were among the first business aviation OEMs to disclose 2004 deliveries, and the numbers show an improvement over 2003. Pilatus reported it shipped 70 PC-12s last year compared with 61 in 2003. The Swiss manufacturer recently celebrated its 500th PC-12 delivery. Piaggio said it delivered 16 Avantis last year versus 12 in 2003.
Avantair, the fractional operator flying an all-Piaggio Avanti fleet, took delivery last month of its 16th copy of the Italian-built twin-turboprop pusher. The Fairfield, N.J., company said it will continue to receive one Avanti per month through 2007, which will bring the planned fleet to nearly 50 aircraft by the end of that year. At press time the number of Avantair share-owners stood at 132.
MSA Aircraft Products of San Antonio has introduced its Accordia pleated window shade systems for the Embraer Legacy, Gulfstream 200 (as well as an Accordia ultra-light window assembly for all Gulfstreams), Piaggio Avanti and Learjet 35.
Significant fleet orders were announced today for the Eclipse 500, Citation and Avanti at NBAA 2005. Linear Air of Lexington, Mass., and JetSet Air of the UK have placed firm orders for 15 and 30 Eclipse 500 very light jets, respectively. These transactions bring the Eclipse order book to 2,350 airplanes (1,592 firm orders and 765 options), all secured with nonrefundable deposits, the company said.
The major U.S. fractional providers appear to be poised for growth this year, if estimates of pilot hiring and aircraft delivery intake are accurate. NetJets recently said it plans to hire 450 pilots this year, and New York-based analyst UBS Investment Research predicts that the New Jersey-based fractional provider will take delivery of 76 business jets by year-end.