October 2019

Piaggio P.180 Avanti

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Piaggio P.180 Avanti

Marina Militare (Italian Navy), HQ liaison unit, Pratica di Mare Air Base  2019

A-Model 1/72

Piaggio's striking pusher executive transport first flew in the mid 1980s. The product of collaboration between US company Gates Learjet and Italian aircraft manufacturer Piaggio, its radically streamlined fuselage, 3 wing configuration (tail/main/canard) and highly efficient P&W Canada turboprop engines allow it to fly further and faster for less fuel consumption (up to 40%) than equivalent executive jets.

It remains in production in 2019 (just), as a result of extensive Italian Govt support following the commercial failure of both its manufacturers.

One of the big attractions for me at this year's Yeovilton airshow was the arrival and static display of an Italian Navy Avanti.  I had already purchased the AModel kit and was delighted to use the opportunity to take some close-up pictures to use as references.

The kit is typical of AModel, well formed, but as normal for a short run kit, it lacks locating pins and whilst parts fit is reasonable, it does require some care to assemble.  Some of the smaller parts are difficult to remove from the sprue without damaging them, and the clear parts are not a good fit, requiring considerable fairing-in.

The only area that gave me real issues were the engine fittings to the wing and the very small exhausts.  Decals were nicely printed, but several of them split whilst I tried to apply them, although fortunately AModel do provide some spares.  A very detailed cabin interior is provided, although little can be seen once the cabin is completed.

The distinctive rear antenna is not provided, so I scratched this one up from some stretched sprue.  I also swapped the clear wing and tail lights for Krystal Clear.

Pictures © by gengriz.co.uk  

Along with many Italian Government agencies, the Italian Air Force and Italian Navy both use Avantis as VIP transports.  A UAV version fitted with an extensive sensor suite and known as the P.1HH was developed with Selex (now part of Leonardo) as a long range unmanned patrol aircraft, but despite promising sales to the Italian armed forces and the UAE, its development was halted in 2018 due to Piaggio's receivership.

More NATO aircraft on my Friends & Allies pages   

The real thing - at RNAS Yeovilton’s 2019 Air Show…….