October 9, 2011
By Alton K. Marsh
Piaggio Aero Industries , currently building a new factory for the Piaggio Avanti II twin-engine turboprop, discovered a World War II bomb in the ground where it is building a new factory at Villanova d’Albenga. The bomb was detonated Oct. 9, Piaggio officials said during a press conference in Las Vegas the same day.
The plant will open in 2013, but there is little to show except for the foundation at present. Sales of the unusual aircraft, with a canard in front and rear-facing engines, are strong. In 2010 Piaggio delivered 11 of the aircraft. This year the total will be 14. There are 99 flying in the United States.
Avantair operates 57 of the aircraft, flying each 100 hours a month. The company recently won certification for the Avanti in Brazil and has established a new dealer. The company is seeing a little growth but did not downplay the difficult world economy. The company has strong financial partners in Mubadala Aerospace and Tata.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
Pilots and aircraft owners have volunteered to transport hundreds of sea turtles rescued in Massachusetts to facilities equipped to care for them.
The FAA is working to automate a contingency plan developed on the fly when Chicago Center was taken out by arson from within Sept. 26.
AOPA has urged College Park, Maryland, to make approval of a hotel construction project near the city airport conditional on reducing the building’s height.
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