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Piaggio P.180 Avanti

P180 Avanti
Role Executive transport
National origin Italy
Manufacturer Piaggio Aero
First flight 26 September 1986
Introduction 30 September 1990
Status In production
Primary users Avantair
Italian Armed Forces
Produced 1986–present
Number built 216 delivered as of November 2011[1]
Unit cost
US$ 7 million[2]

The Piaggio P180 Avanti is an Italian executive transport aircraft with twin turboprop engines mounted in pusher configuration.[3] It seats up to nine passengers in a pressurized cabin, and may be flown by one or two pilots. The design is of three-surface configuration, having both a small forward wing and a conventional tail plane as well as its main wing, with the wing spars passing outside of the passenger cabin area.


  • Development 1
  • Design 2
  • Variants 3
  • Operators 4
    • Civil 4.1
    • Government 4.2
  • Specifications (P180 Avanti) 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Showing the continuously-varying curve of the fuselage cross-section and forward wing
The Avanti’s forward wing flaps deploy automatically with the main wing flaps to maintain neutral pitch trim.
Piaggio P 180 Avanti
Planform view of the Avanti, highlighting its unusual design
On climb out
Avanti parked on tarmac
Piaggio P.180 Avanti Panel

Design studies began in 1979 and designs were tested in wind tunnels in Italy and the United States in 1980 and 1981. A collaboration with Learjet to develop the aircraft began in 1983 but ended on 13 January 1986, with Piaggio continuing development on its own. The first prototype flew on 23 September 1986.[4] American and Italian certification was obtained on 2 October 1990.[5] Learjet's influence can be seen in the two "delta fins" mounted on the bottom of the tail, as found on most Learjets; these devices help provide yaw stability and pitch stability at high angles of attack.

The first 12 fuselages were manufactured in Wichita, Kansas, with H & H Parts and Plessey Midwest, then flown to Italy for final assembly. Avanti Aviation Wichita ran out of money in 1994; the project languished until a group of investors led by Piero Ferrari became involved in 1998. The 100th aircraft was delivered in October 2005 and the 150th in May 2008. Piaggio has reported that, as of October 2010, the Avanti and Avanti II fleets have now logged over 500,000 flight hours.[6]

An improved Avanti II obtained European and U.S. certification in November 2005. Six months later, 70 planes had been ordered, including 36 by Avantair. The Avanti II features uprated Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turboprop engines and flies about 18 km/h (11 mph) faster, with better fuel economy; an all-new "glass panel" avionics suite reduces cockpit clutter. In addition to heading, attitude and navigation information, flat panel color LCD displays add collision avoidance (TCAS), ground proximity (TAWS) and real-time graphic weather depiction.

The Avanti is marketed as being faster than other turboprops and many mid-sized jets, while being up to 40% more fuel efficient than market-competing jets.[7]


The Avanti's turboprop engines are placed on a mid-set, high aspect ratio wing located just behind the cabin. The three-surface design incorporates both a T-tail and a pair of small, fixed forewings having slight anhedral and landing flaps. On the Avanti II these flaps automatically deploy in concert with the main wing flaps. This reduces the load on the tail plane, even when the flaps are deployed, by reducing the pitch-down moment created by the deployment of the main wing flaps. This in turn allows the size of both the tail plane and the main wing to be reduced.[8][9][10][11] This particular three-lifting-surface configuration was patented in 1982.[12]

The forward wing's angle of incidence is slightly greater than that of the main wing, so that it stalls before the main wing, producing an automatic nose-down effect prior to the onset of main wing stall; its five-degree anhedral (negative dihedral) keeps the stream wash interference clear of the engine inlets, the main wing and the tail plane.[9]

The cabin cross-section varies continuously along the length of the aircraft; the shape approximates a NACA airfoil section, and the slowly changing curve helps prolong laminar flow on the front of the fuselage. Piaggio claims that the fuselage contributes up to 20% of the Avanti's total lift, with the front and rear wing providing the remaining 80%. Due to the unusual fuselage shape, the mid cabin is considerably wider than the cockpit. The front and rear airfoils are custom sections designed by Dr. Jerry Gregorek of Ohio State University's Aeronautical and Astronautical Research Laboratory to achieve a drag-reducing 50% laminar flow at cruise. The company claims the overall design of the P180 Avanti II enables the wing to be 34% smaller than on conventional aircraft.[13]

The P180 is said to have good fuel efficiency relative to other small turbojets flying in the same speed and altitude range. Flight International stated: "The Avanti has no direct turboprop competitors, its closest jet rivals are the Raytheon Premier I and the Cessna Citation CJ2+... Piaggio says low-drag laminar flow is maintained to around 50% of wing chord, compared with around 20–25% for conventional tractor turboprops where propeller wash disturbs the airflow over the wing... specific air range at high altitude is 3.4km/kg (0.84nm/lb) compared with around 2km/kg (0.49nm/lb) for current jets or 2.7km/kg (0.67nm/lb) for other turboprops."[14] By this estimate, mileage is 70% better per-fuel-unit than comparable jet aircraft, although this greater efficiency is achieved only at a relatively slow 315 KTAS and FL410.[15] P180 Avanti II Specifications now show slightly lower numbers for specific range of 3.1 km/kg (0.76 nm/lb).

Interior noise is lower than conventional turboprop aircraft, because the propellers and engine exhausts are located behind the cabin. Piaggio quotes 68 dBA. However, due to the strongly disturbed flow in which the pusher propellers operate, the exterior noise is higher. The exterior noise level and its higher pitched sound has been shown to be the result primarily of the interaction of the turbine engine exhaust flows and the five-bladed pusher props (est. +9 dB).[16] On takeoff, the Avanti has been measured at 81.9 dBA sideline noise level, slightly lower than the Beechcraft King Air at 82.8 dBA. This is below FAA stage 3 noise limits, which set a maximum of 89 EPNdB for takeoff.[17][18] However, the P180 has been the subject of noise complaints at airports, such as Naples Municipal Airport, Florida, where the airport authority determined it was the noisiest aircraft using that facility.[19] Alan Parker, chairman of the Naples Municipal Airport Authority's technical committee, described the Avanti as "irritating loud" and compared the high pitched sound "to fingernails on a chalkboard".[20]

The Piaggio P.180 Avanti has a sea-level, standard day, maximum gross weight takeoff distance of 869 m (2,851 ft) and a landing roll of 872 m (2,861 ft).[21]

Deliveries were at a high of 30 in 2008, but only two in 2013.

In 2014 Piaggio announced development of an updated version, called EVO.[22] It uses new Hartzell composite propellers, with blades of scimitar configuration. Its wings carry new winglets; aerodynamic improvements have been incorporated, and an additional 60-gallon (400 lb) fuel tank is added. The company predicts improved climb performance, 250 nm greater range, and 3% reduction in fuel usage. The revised propeller shape, combined with a lower engine speed, promises a 68% reduction in external noise. EASA certification is expected by December 2014. Projected purchase price is in the $7.4 million range.[23] The first Evo was delivered in April 2015, with five more to follow the same year.[24]


P.180 Avanti
First production variant.
P180 M
Military version with a combination passenger/freighter configuration for use as a VIP and light utility transport.
P.180 RM
Variant for use in radio calibration.
P.180 AMB
Air ambulance variant.
P.180 APH
Aerial cartography.
Piaggio Avanti II
P.180 Avanti II
Variant with improved avionics and engines.[25]
Variant with 400kt TAS and higher useful load.[26]
Maritime Patrol Aircraft
Variant of the Avanti II with larger wing.[27]
Piaggio-Selex P.1HH Hammerhead
Medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle based on the Avanti II airframe, with an increased wingspan and the ability to carry up to 1,100 pounds (500 kg) of weapons.[28] The P.1HH HammerHead Mission Management System is based on the Selex ES skyISTAR solution.[29] The vehicle's first flight took place in November 2013.[30]
The Italian Air Force signed an agreement with Piaggio Aerospace to buy three Unmanned Aerial System P.1HH HammerHead (6 aircraft and 3 ground control stations) with delivery starting from the early months of 2016.[31]



The Avanti is operated by charter companies and small feeder airlines, and is also used as a business aircraft. The fractional aircraft operator Avantair had a fleet of 56 aircraft before they went bankrupt and the fleet was liquidated.[32][33]


Italian Air Force P180 Avanti
 United Arab Emirates

Specifications (P180 Avanti)

Data from Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1999–2000[36]

General characteristics
  • Crew: one or two pilots
  • Capacity: up to nine passengers
  • Cabin dimensions: 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in) high, 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in) wide, 4.45 m (14 ft 7 in) long
  • Payload: 907 kg (2,000 lb)
  • Length: 14.41 m (47 ft 3½ in)
  • Wingspan: 14.03 m (46 ft 0½ in)
  • Height: 3.97 m (13 ft 0¾ in)
  • Wing area: 16 m² (172.2 ft²)
  • Foreplane area: 2.19 m²[9] (23.59 ft²)
  • Horizontal stabilizer area: 3.83 m²[9] (41.27 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 3,400 kg (7,500 lb)
  • Useful load: 1,860 kg (4,100 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 5,239 kg (11,550 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66 turboprop, 634 kW (850 shp) each


See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Comparable aircraft of historic interest

Related lists


  1. ^ Morrison, Murdo (6 December 2011). "In Focus: Piaggio looks to special missions market with P180 Avanti and new jet".  
  2. ^ "Piaggio’s Unusual Airplane Maximizes Efficiency", Wired, Aug 2010 
  3. ^ "Fuel Miser".  
  4. ^ Taylor 1988, p. 163
  5. ^ Taylor 1999, p. 439
  6. ^ "NBAA: Piaggio embarks on 'new phase' of jet development", Flight global, 19 October 2010 .
  7. ^ Fogelson, Jason (18 April 2012). "Piaggio's P180 Avanti II Turboprop Challenges Executive Jets". Forbes. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  8. ^ Garrison, Peter (December 2002), "Three's Company", Flying Magazine 
  9. ^ a b c d e f "P180 Avanti-Specification and Description". Smart cockpit. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  10. ^ Aircraft Configuration Study for Experimental 2-Place Aircraft and RPVs, DTIC, March 1990 
  11. ^ ]Quacks in the canards (ducks) [Des couacs chez les canards (diagram) (in Français),  
  12. ^ United States Patent:4,746,081 (patent),  
  13. ^ "Efficiency", P.180, Piaggio Aero 
  14. ^ Collins, Peter (1 November 2005), "Flight Test: Piaggio Avanti II — Hard to beat", Flight International 
  15. ^ Black, Gary (March 1990), "Aircraft Configuration Study for Experimental 2-Place Aircraft and RPVs", Naval Postgraduate School Thesis 
  16. ^ "Tonal and Broadband Noise Calculations for Aeroacoustic Optimization of a Pusher Propeller", Journal of Aircraft (Mendeley) 47 (3), May–June 2010, retrieved 28 December 2011 
  17. ^ "FAA Stage Classifications", Aircraft Noise Terminology, Palm Beach International Airport, retrieved 13 December 2011 
  18. ^ Noise Levels for U.S. Certificated and Foreign Aircraft,  
  19. ^ Migual, Tracy X (12 April 2010). "Naples airport addressing noise complaints with Avanti aircraft". Naples News. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  20. ^ Niles, Russ (13 December 2011). "Naples Targets Piaggio Noise". AVweb. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  21. ^ "P180 Avanti II". Piaggio. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  22. ^ Sarsfield, Kate (7 August 2014), "Hartzell to supply propellers for new Avanti EVO", Flight Global (Reed Business Information), archived from the original on 9 August 2014, retrieved 9 August 2014 
  23. ^ Piaggio Says Chinese Like Italian Style, Aviation Week & Space Technology, 11 November 2014
  24. ^ Reed Business Information Limited. "Piaggio Avanti Evo enters service". Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  25. ^ EASA TCDS EASA.A.059 Piaggio P.180
  26. ^ "Avanti EVO deliveries begin". AOPA Pilot: 48. March 2015. 
  27. ^ Sweetman, Bill. "Piaggio, Saab Take On Ambitious Maritime Patrol Program." Aviation Week, 11 July 2012
  28. ^ Davies, Alex (19 June 2013). "The Italian Air Force Is Buying 10 Of These Strange-Looking Drones".  
  29. ^ "Piaggio Aero Industries unveils at the 2013 Paris Air Show - DETAIL - Selex ES". Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  30. ^ "First Flight of the P.1HH HammerHead UAS". YouTube. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  31. ^ "L’Aeronautica "cliente di lancio" del Piaggio P.1HH - Analisi Difesa". Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  32. ^ Avantair, Inc. Reports Fiscal 2012 Third Quarter Financial Results, See "fleet of 57 aircraft" at bottom of page.
  33. ^ Chad Trautvetter. "Selling Off Avantair, Piece by Piece | Aviation International News". Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  34. ^ Aboulafia, Richard. Jane's Civil Aircraft, 1996, Harper Collins, p. 197
  35. ^ "RCMP sells sleek plane for half of asking price".  
  36. ^ a b c Taylor 1999, pp. 438—39.
  37. ^ "P.180 unit page", Aeronautica Militare [Air Force] (in Italiano), IT: Difesa 
  38. ^ "Siglato accordo tra AM e Protezione civile", Aeronautica [Air Force] (in Italiano), IT: Difesa 
  39. ^ Flight International 15–21 December 2009, p. 43
  40. ^ "Servizio aereo", Organizzazione centrale [Central organisations] (in Italiano), IT: Carabinieri 
  41. ^ "La flotta aerea", Servizio aeronavale [Aeronaval service] (in Italiano), IT: GDF 
  42. ^ P.180, IT: Guardia costiera 
  43. ^ ]State police [Polizia di Stato (in Italiano), IT 
  44. ^ ]Forest Corp [Corpo forestale (in Italiano), IT 
  45. ^ Piaggio aero, April 2007 
  46. ^ ]Services & activities [Servizi e attività (in Italiano), IT: Enav 
  47. ^ Peaford, Alan. "Paris Air show: UAE selects Piaggio Avanti for multi-utility role". Flight global. 15 June 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2009.
  48. ^ "Final Report HCLJ510-2011-33 N108GF" mirror p. 82. Accident Investigation Board Denmark. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  • Taylor, John W.R. (ed.) Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1988–89. Coulsdon, UK: Jane's Defence Data, 1988. ISBN 0-7106-0867-5.
  • Taylor, Michael J.H. (ed.) Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1999/2000 Edition. London: Brassey's, 1999. ISBN 1-85753-245-7.
  • "World Air Forces Directory 2009". Flight International, 15–21 December 2009, pp. 33–53.

External links

  • Piaggio Aero Industries
  • Photos
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