30 September 1990
The Piaggio P.180 Avanti was introduced on this day in aviation history in 1990.
The Italian design, twin-turboprop aircraft has a unique appearance. with its s three load-carrying surfaces and engine and propellors mounted in a pusher configuration. It has seating for a maximum of nine passengers and is certified to be flown with dual or single-pilot.
With the wing-mounted aft of the cabin, the main spar does not pass through the cabin leaving more cabinspace.
Three perspective view of the PIaggio p.180
The design work for what would become the Piaggio P.180 Avanti started in 1979, with wind tunnel tests carried out in 1980 and 1981. The design was submitted for a patent in 1982. A year later, in 1983, Piaggio started a partnership with Gates Learjet for the final design of the fuselage. Some design features of the aircraft give away a bit of its aircraft Learjet heritage;
The design of the cockpit windows
The ventral fins under the tail section (called Delta Fins) During high angles of attack, these fins create a nosedown input, and so helping in preventing a stall. Aditionally they provide yaw stability and Dutch roll.
Another "anti-stall" feature is hidden in the lifting surfaces, the angle of incidence of the canard wing is slightly greater than that of the main wing. This means that the canard wing will always stall first, causing a nosedown effect, preventing the main wing to reach a stall.
The partnership ended already 3 years later, however, Piaggio continued the development and in late september 1986, the 1st prototype took the sky for the first time and heralded the start of the fligth test program. The test program culminated in the certification of the aircraft in March 1990 by the ENAC (Ente Nazionale per l'Aviazione Civile) and in October of that same year by the FAA.
Piaggio Avanti II Flightdeck
Orders came in fast and in May 2008 the 150th aircraft was delivered. Several versions were developed over the years, for both civil as (para)military roles, an overview; 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
Variant for Aerial cartography. P.180 Avanti II Variant with improved avionics and engines. EVO Variant with 400kt TAS and higher useful load, powered by Canada PT6A-66B engines and Hartzell five-blade scimitar propellers MPA (Maritime Patrol Aircraft) A military version of the Avanti II, with increased fuel capicaty and a larger wingspan. With the aircraft Canada PT6A-66B engines and Hartzell five-blade scimitar propellers, similar to the EVO variant. The Proline Fusion avionics from Rockwell Collins gave the cockpit an upgrade.
An odd variant is the Piaggio-Selex P.1 Hammerhead. This is a medium altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle that is based on the Avanti II airframe. A succesor is being developed, the P.2HH. It will feature a new wing, more composite materials and redesigned systems. It is estimated that the P.2HH will have an endurance of up to 30 hours. The specifiactions of the EVO version of the Piaggio Avanti; General characteristics
Length: 14.4 m (47.3 ft)
Wingspan: 14.0 m (46.0 ft)
Height: 4.0 m (13.0 ft)
Wing area: 16.0 m2 (172 sq ft)
Empty weight: 3,799 kg (8,375 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 5,488 kg (12,100 lb)
Fuel capacity: 1,271 kg (2,802 lb)
Max landing weight: 5,216 kg (11,500 lb)
Max zero-fuel weight: 4,445 kg (9,800 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66B turboprop, 630 kW (850 shp) each ISA+28C Flat Rated
Maximum speed: 740 km/h (460 mph, 400 kn) FL310 high speed cruise
Cruise speed: 589 km/h (366 mph, 318 kn) FL410 long range cruise
Vmca: 190 km/h (120 mph, 100 kn) Vmca
Range: 2,800 km (1,740 mi, 1,510 nmi) 4 passengers, NBAA IFR, 100-nm alternate
Ferry range: 2,830 km (1,760 mi, 1,530 nmi)
Service ceiling: 12,000 m (41,000 ft)
Time to altitude: 10 min to FL 250
Wing loading: 343 kg/m2 (70.3 lb/sq ft)
Fuel consumption: 0.220 kg/km (0.779 lb/mi)
Takeoff (SL, ISA): 994 m (3,262 ft)