|2004 Piaggio P180 Avanti - C-GPIA (sn 1072)
Photo taken September 15, 2004
Penticton Airport, BC - Canada (YYF / CYYF)
|Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler
The Piaggio P180 Avanti is an Italian twin-engine turboprop aircraft produced by Piaggio Aero. It seats up to nine passengers in a pressurized cabin, and may be flown by one or two pilots. The design uses a small forward wing and a main wing combination that places the wing spars outside of the passenger cabin area. Although the front wing resembles a canard configuration, a conventional horizontal stabilizer on the tail provides longitudinal stability and pitch trim. It features a lifting laminar flow fuselage and has engines in pusher configuration.
|2004 Piaggio P180 Avanti
N146SL (sn 1091)
Photograph taken July 09, 2009
Seattle - Boeing Field / King County Intl, WA - USA (BFI / KBFI)
|Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler
|2005 Piaggio P-180 Avanti
C-GKWQ (sn 1095)
Photo taken Oct. 01, 2005
Kelowna, BC - Canada (YLW / CYLW)
|Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler
The P180 design was tested in wind tunnels in Italy and the U.S. 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. U.S. and Italian certification was obtained on 7 March 1990. 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 provide aerodynamic recovery force in the event of an aerodynamic stall. The first 12 fuselages were manufactured in Wichita, 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.
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's turboprop engines are placed on a mid-fuselage, high aspect ratio wing, located behind the cabin. The design utilizes both a T-tail and a pair of small, fixed anhedral forward wings that lack control surfaces. The arrangement of the wing surfaces allows all three to provide lift, as opposed to a conventional configuration, where the horizontal stabilizer creates a downward force to counteract the nose-down moment generated by the center of gravity being forward of the center of lift. This is patented as "Three-Lifting-Surface Configuration" (3LSC). The Avanti II's forward wing has flaps that move in concert with main wing flaps. The forward wing pitch angle is set so it stalls before the main wing, producing an automatic nose-down effect; its five degree negative dihedral keeps the stream wash interference clear of the engine inlets, the main wing and the horizontal stabilizer.
Cabin cross-section varies along the length of the aircraft; the shape approximates a NACA airfoil section. Piaggio claims the fuselage contributes up to 20% of the Avanti's total lift, with horizontal stabilizer, front and rear wing providing the remaining 80%. Due to the unusual fuselage shape, the mid cabin is considerably wider than the cockpit, and the entire cabin is ahead of the main wing spar. 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.
The P180 is known for its fuel efficiency relative to small turbojets that fly in the same speed and altitude range. Through low drag, the aircraft is faster and more fuel efficient than other turboprop aircraft. 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. By this estimate, mileage is 70% better per-fuel-unit than comparable jet aircraft, however this extreme efficiency is achieved only at a relatively slow 315 KTAS and FL410. P180 Avanti II Specifications now show slightly lower numbers for specific range of 3.1km/kg (0.76nm/lb).
As the propeller disks and engine exhausts are located behind the cabin, the interior noise is lower than conventional turboprop aircraft. Piaggio quotes 68 dBA. However, due to the strongly disturbed flow in which the pusher propellers operate, the exterior noise is higher than desirable. 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 5 bladed pusher props (est. +9 dB). The reduction of external noise is an active research topic at Piaggio. On take off, the Avanti has been measured at 81.9 dBA, 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 take off. 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. 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 chalk board".
- 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
- P.180 Avanti II
Variant with improved avionics.
The Avanti is popular with air charter companies and small feeder airlines, and is also operated by many companies as a business aircraft.
Youngone - 1
2106701 Ontario Inc.
Bell Aliant - 1
Cascades Inc. - 2
Skyservice Business Aviation - 2
Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1
- Czech Republic
Icarus Aiviation Group - 1
Brittany Ferries - 1
Pan Européenne Air Service - 1
Transport'Air - 4
AirGO Private Airline - 5
Susi Air - 2
TajAir - 1
Blue Panorama Airlines - 2
Eurofly Service - 1
State Forestry Corps - 1
State Police - 1
Vigili del Fuoco - 2
Windjet - 2
Saraya Skies - 3 (3 others in option)
Lotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe (Polish Medical Air Rescue) - 2
JetNetherlands - 1
Solid Air - 1
- United States
Avantair - 56 aircraft ordered
Mountain Aviation - 1
Bulgarian Air Force (28th Air Detachment)
Italian Air Force
- United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates Air Force
Specifications (P180 Avanti)
- 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)
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 turboprops, 634 kW (850 shp) each
Maximum speed: 732 km/h (395 kn, 455 mph)
Cruise speed: 593 km/h (320 kn, 368 mph) (econ cruise)
Range: 2,592 km (1,400 nmi, 1,612 mi) at 11,900 m (39,000 ft) with reserves
Service ceiling: 12,500 m (41,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 15 m/s (2,950 ft/min)
Wing loading: 327 kg/m² (67.1 lb/ft²)
Power/mass: 0.24 kW/kg (6.79 lb/hp)
Specifications (P180 Avanti II)
(Source: 2012 Piaggio AeroP180 Avanti II brochure)
- Maximum Cruise Speed (at ft 31,000 ft ISA) - 402 KTAS / 745 km/h
- Maximum Ceiling - 41,000 ft / 12.500 m
- Rate of Climb - 2,770 fpm / 844 mpm
- Take-Off Distance (Sea Level, ISA, MTOW,50 ft obstacle) - 3,235 ft / 986 m
- Landing Distance (Sea Level, ISA, MLOW, 50 ft obstacle, no reverse) - 3,282 ft / 1.000 m
- NBAA IFR Maximum Range - 1,470 nm / 2.722 km
- Engines - Pratt & Whitney of Canada PT6A-66B • Power 850 SHP/634kW ea. (flat rated from 1,630 HP)
- External Dimensions - Wing Span 46’ 0.48’’/14.03 m • Length 47’ 3.24’’/14.41 m • Height 13’ 0.90’’/3.98 m
- Cabin Dimensions - Height 5’ 9’’/1.75 m • Width 6’ 1”/1.85 m • Length 14’ 11’’/4.55 m
- Baggage Compartment - Volume 44.15 ft3/1.25 m3 • Length 5’ 7’’ ft/1.70 m • Maximum Weight 300 lbs/136 kg
- Maximum Take-Off Weight - 12,100 lbs / 5,489 kg
- Maximum Landing Weight - 11,500 lbs / 5,216 kg
- Maximum Zero Fuel Weight - 9,800 lbs / 4,445 kg
- Standard Empty - 7,800 lbs / 3,538 kg
- Maximum Fuel Capacity (usable at 6.75 lbs/gal) - 2,802 lbs / 1,271 kg
- Useful Load - 4,150 lbs / 1,882 kg
- Maximum Payload - 1,800 lbs / 816 kg
- Fuel with Max. Payload - 2,350 lbs / 1,067 kg
- Payload with Max. Fuel - 1,350lbs / 613 kg
- Pressurisation - Differential 9.0 psi / 0.62 bar (Sea Level Cabin up to 24,000 ft/7.315 m)
- Maximum Seating Capacity - 9 plus 2 crew
- Typical Executive Payload - 6 plus 1 crew