Piaggio Aero’s latest evolution of the P180 Avanti is edging closer to certification and service entry, following European approval of the twin-engined turboprop’s auxiliary fuel tank.
The $275,000 feature is available as an option on the new-generation Avanti EVO and for retrofit on the Avanti II. The first two examples of the Avanti II fitted with the tank are scheduled for delivery in July to Chinese operator Sparkle Roll General Aviation, based in Beijing.
The Italian airframer says incorporating the auxiliary fuel tank involves no changes to the airframe, as the tank replaces half a closet in the twin-pusher’s lavatory. The extra tank increases the Avanti's fuel capacity by 180kg to 1,470kg (3,240lb), boosting maximum range with four passengers by 250nm to 1,720nm (3,190km). This allows the Avanti to connect more city pairs, Piaggio says, such as Milan and Reykjavik, Abu Dhabi and Istanbul, Beijing and Hainan and Los Angeles and Detroit.
The third-generation Avanti EVO was launched in May and is earmarked for service entry in September. The $7.4 million, nine-seat aircraft incorporates a host of improvements and upgrades over the Avanti II, including a revamped and quieter interior, enhanced safety features and increased performance, thanks to winglets, redesigned engine nacelles, a reshaped front wing and five-blade composite scimitar propellers.
EVO flight testing began in February, and the test aircraft has so far clocked up nearly 100h, Piaggio says.