Piaggio P.180 Avanti

Piaggio P.180 Avanti
P180 Avanti
Role Executive transport
Manufacturer Piaggio Aero
First flight 26 September 1986
Primary users Italian Armed Force
Number built 203 delivered to September 2010 [1]
Unit cost US$ 7 million [2]

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 innovative 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 tail provides stability. It features a lifting laminar flow fuselage and has engines in pusher configuration.[3]



The continuously-varying fuselage cross-section of the aircraft

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.[4] U.S. and Italian certification was obtained on 7 March 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 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.[1]

An improved Avanti II obtained European and U.S. certification in November 2005. Six months later, 70 planes were already 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.


Planform view of the Avanti, highlighting its unusual design
The P.180 has prominent actuated canards

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

Distinctive design features include a non-constant cross section cabin, the revolutionary shape of which 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%. Because of 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 and a specific range of 0.84 nmi/lb of fuel.[6]

The P180 makes a distinctive noise, with higher frequency components than standard turboprops, due to the wing wake and engine exhaust flows impinging on the 5 bladed pusher propellers.[citation needed]


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.
P.180 Avanti II
Variant with improved avionics.[7]


Avanti belonging to Vigili del Fuoco, Rome-Ciampino
Avanti parked on tarmac
Avanti at Colorado Springs Municipal Airport


  • AirGO Private Airline - 5[11]
  • Saraya Skies - 3 (3 others in option)[18]
  • Lotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe (Polish Medical Air Rescue) - 2[20]
 United States


Italian Air Force P180 Avanti
Cockpit and instrument panel aboard a P180 Avanti.
  • 28th Air Detachment[23]
 United Arab Emirates

Specifications (P180 Avanti)

Data from Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1999-2000 [13]

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


See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists


  1. ^ a b NBAA: Piaggio embarks on 'new phase' of jet development
  2. ^ Piaggio’s Unusual Airplane Maximizes Efficiency
  3. ^ "Fuel Miser". Flying MAgazine. December 2008. 
  4. ^ Taylor 1988, p. 163.
  5. ^ Taylor 1999, p. 439.
  6. ^ Piaggio Aero's page concerning efficiency
  7. ^ EASA TCDS EASA.A.059 Piaggio P.180
  8. ^ a b c d Transport Canada (February 2010). "Civil Aircraft Register". http://wwwapps2.tc.gc.ca/Saf-Sec-Sur/2/ccarcs/aspscripts/en/quicksearch.asp. Retrieved 2010-02-14. 
  9. ^ Pan Européenne fleet
  10. ^ Transport'Air web site
  11. ^ www.airgo.de
  12. ^ Executive Blue by Blue Panorama Airlines
  13. ^ a b c d Taylor 1999, pp. 438—439.
  14. ^ "Corpo forestale dello Stato - Il Centro Operativo Aereo". http://www3.corpoforestale.it/flex/cm/pages/ServeBLOB.php/L/IT/IDPagina/333. 
  15. ^ Polizia di Stato (July 2007). "Struttura del Reparto volo". http://poliziadistato.it/articolo/1246-Struttura_del_Reparto_volo. Retrieved 25 March 2010. 
  16. ^ http://www.vigilfuoco.it/speciali/editoria/biblioteca/pdf/presentazione_VVF2004.pdf | Vigili del fuoco
  17. ^ http://windjetplatinum.it/fr/index.php | Windjet Platinum Line
  18. ^ http://www.sarayaholdings.com/SubDefault.aspx?PageID=153%7C%7CNode=290&LangID=2%7CSaraya Holdings website
  19. ^ "Solid Air fleet". http://www.solid-airline.com/aircraft.asp. 
  20. ^ "4 RESCUE - Polish Medical Air Rescue". http://www.aerolite.ch/Polish_Air_Rescue.pdf. 
  21. ^ "Avantair". june 2010. http://www.avantair.com/piaggio-avanti-p180.html. Retrieved 8 june 2010. 
  22. ^ About Avantair
  23. ^ Aboulafia, Richard. Jane's Civil Aircraft, 1996, HarperCollings Publishers, p. 197
  24. ^ Flight International 15–21 December 2009, p. 43.
  25. ^ Peaford, Alan. "PARIS AIR SHOW: UAE selects Piaggio Avanti for multi-utility role". Flightglobal.com. 15 June 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2009.
  26. ^ Taylor 1988, p. 164.
  • 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

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