Elbit Systems of America’s (Booth No. 3113) Kollsman general aviation vision system (GAViS)–a head-down enhanced-vision system–is undergoing installation and certification on both the Piaggio Avanti II turboprop twin and Sikorsky S-76 helicopter. GAViS houses an infrared sensor in a single, aerodynamic line-replaceable unit, which allows for easy installation on an aircraft’s exterior.
Tata Ltd., a UK-based subsidiary of India’s Tata Sons, announced today at the NBAA Convention that it will buy a one-third share of Italy’s Piaggio Aero Industries, manufacturer of the Avanti II turboprop twin. The proposed investment by Tata, which is expected to receive regulatory and other approvals later this week, includes the purchase of existing shares from current shareholders and a new share offering.
Italy’s Piaggio Aero has introduced a third cabin choice for its six- to seven-seat Avanti II twin-turboprop, and expects to almost double production this year by ramping up its manufacturing and outfitting processes.
Veteran de Havilland Canada and Bombardier executive Tom Appleton takes over as president and CEO of Greenville, S.C.-based Piaggio America as of September 1, replacing Steve Hanvey, who has chosen to pursue other career interests. Hanvey was the founding president and CEO of Piaggio America three years ago.
The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale and National Aeronautic Association have certified five speed records set by a Piaggio Avanti. The records for average speed over a recognized course were set earlier this year with pilot Joe Ritchie and copilot Steve Fossett at the controls. The records include:
Italian government investment group Sviluppo Italia has bought a 20-percent stake in Piaggio Aero Industries for $20 million ($22.4 million). At the same time, the Italian airframer’s existing private shareholders have injected a further $15 million ($16.8 million) in fresh capital to fund new product development and increased manufacturing capacity.
Piaggio Aero Industries is developing a special version of the P.180 Avanti for the Italian air force intended for navaid flight inspections. Private firm Norwegian Special Mission will supply its Unifis 3000 inspection terminals for the reconfigured airplanes, due to enter service in 2010. Italy’s Aeronautica Militaire 14th Stormo is providing four Avantis from its fleet for upgrades with the flight inspection gear.
There is a line in an old episode of the television series “M*A*S*H” in which one of the doctors, informed of a patient’s recovery, remarks, “I thought he was dead.” To which the other doctor replies, “He was. But he got better.”
Alitalia director Giorgio Giorgi has been appointed as the new general manager of Piaggio Aero Industries. Giorgi, who has an engineering background, has been with the Italian flag carrier since 1968 and is also a director of Milan-based charter operator Eurofly. At Alitalia, he has been responsible for aircraft servicing, fleet development and flight crew costs.
On Sunday under a humid central Florida sky, a Piaggio P.180 Avanti settled to the runway at Orlando Executive Airport, setting a speed record for Class C-1.E/2 aircraft (twin turboprops 6,614 lb to 13,228 lb).