Piaggio Aero announced the launch of the third-generation Avanti EVO, the world’s fastest civil turboprop in production. While claimed top cruise speed remains unchanged at 402 KTAS, the $7.39 million EVO should be able to fly 50+ miles farther than Avanti II because of reduced drag. A new optional 390-lb. extended-range fuel tank will boost range from 1,470 nm to 1,770 nm.

The drag reduction results in 3% lower fuel consumption with a corresponding reduction in CO2 emissions. Avanti II already is one of the lowest-drag business aircraft, having both laminar-flow wings and fuselage. EVO will be fitted with a reshaped forward wing, winglets on the main wing and recontoured engine nacelles with new, low-noise exhaust stacks. New scimitar-shaped, five-blade Hartzell props will slash external noise by 5 dBA, or 68%. The new props also reduce cabin sound levels by 1 dBA.

“EVO is an aircraft with increased efficiency, reduced fuel burn, greater range and faster climb. We’ve also reached a milestone in exterior noise reduction,” says Giuliano Felton, COO of Piaggio Aero. “New winglets add performance and ramp appeal. New Scimitar props contribute significantly to noise reduction.”

Equally important to noise reduction, max prop speed is reduced from 2,000 rpm to 1,800 rpm with no loss of performance. EVO will be equipped with anti-skid brakes, a long-overdue upgrade. EVO will have shorter stopping distances than Avanti II, especially on wet and contaminated runways. An engine-torque limiter will reduce pilot workload, thereby making it easier to meet certificated takeoff data.

EVO also will have a new Magnaghi landing-gear system with a 10,000-cycle / 15-year overhaul interval that will cut maintenance costs nearly in half. Notably, the current-production Avanti II has Dowty landing gear with a 6,000-cycle / 12-year TBO that cost upward of $400,000 to recondition.

EVO also will be fitted with a new digital nose-wheel power steering system. Similar to the current NWS, it will have +/- 50-deg. authority for taxi and +/- 7 deg. for takeoff and landing. Long-life LED exterior and interior lights will replace incandescent bulbs and xenon strobes.

The dual-zone environmental control is fitted with a new air conditioner having 25% greater capacity. The 9.1-psid pressurization system, the highest by far of any turboprop, provides a 6,600-ft. cabin altitude at the aircraft’s maximum 41,000-ft. cruising altitude.

Iacobucci HF Aerospace is supplying new cabin furnishings for EVO, including new chairs that move laterally and longitudinally and swivel 180 deg. Italian luxo furnishings purveyor Poltrona Frau is supply upholstery leathers.

Cabin options include an inflight entertainment system, upgraded carpeting, premium leathers and foam padding, AirCell Axxess air-to-ground data link, Iridium Satcom phone, Thrane & Thrane Inmarsat Satcom transceiver and life raft with survival kit. Also available is an EU OPS-1 / FAR Part 135 commercial operations kit and portable medical oxygen bottle.

Cockpit and aircraft options include gravel kit for unpaved runway operations, engine trend monitoring system, video interface for the MFD and CPDLC for Eurocontrol’s Link 2000+ that includes third VHD comm radio, plus XM satellite radio weather or Universal graphic weather system, SBAS/WAAS LPV approach capability, and ACAS II/TCAS II, along with Class A TAWS, cockpit voice recorder and HF radio.

“This is a very important date for me, you and Piaggio,” says Carlo Logli, CEO of Piaggio Aero. “Mubadala now is our 98.05% owner.” The Abu Dhabi investment and development company is supported by the UAE and has deep pockets. The firm is investing $260 million in Piaggio and it has an AAA3/AAA credit rating, two to three steps higher than Italy. “‘EVO’ is short for ‘evolution.’ And evolution never stops.”

Thus customers can look forward to more evolutionary improvements to the P180 in the years to come. Mubadala also has the resources to fund the development of clean-sheet Piaggios.

But, for now, company chairman Alberto Galassi says, “our kitchen is full” with developing P.1HH Hammerhead and maritime special-missions variants of the EVO.