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10 Dec 2019, 01:51 [ UTC - 5; DST ]


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 Post subject: The definitive Piaggio P180 Avanti thread.
PostPosted: 19 Jul 2015, 12:29 
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Location: Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA
Aircraft: Turbo Commander 680V
So, as you know I've been a bit of a torch carrier for these just because they look so friggin cool and have such spectacular performance. Plus, I'm half Italian.. Everyone kept saying they break, they're unreliable, they can't be serviced, they're finicky Italian etc. So I thought I'd find out the truth and go directly to the source - an owner. Easier said than done, as it turned out. Not that many of them around owned by someone who actually flies it himself. The service centers were no use at all - none of them returned my emails when I asked if I could be put in contact with an owner. Either that's because they don't want the truth, or their clients didn't want to know, or they're just lazy.

Finally I got a hold of an owner in NorCal by sending a letter. He's a very successful Silicon Valley founder/owner of a giant computer business. We're talking big company here. I agreed to keep his real name out of it out of courtesy. Here are his answers to my questions:




How long have you owned the Piaggio?

Bought it new in Spring of 2007.

Does it meet book numbers?

Yes for speeds. I find it hard to meet runway length numbers. I use/prefer longer runways than minimum.

Is it a high or low workload single pilot airplane in your opinion?

Realizing I transitioned from a Cessna Stationair and a Bonanza, I think its moderate. I believe though in an emergency it's slightly more than a jet as we have props and power to manage, but its not a problem once you are familiar with the systems.

Was it a big step up from your previous plane?

Yes but I knew nothing about turboprops, pressurization, Collins avionics, high altitude flying, weather radar, etc.

How do you like flying it? How does it compare to other planes you've flown?

Love flying it. Its fun, fast, and “cool”. Two things make it different from other planes. First, when you fly into a cloud, the nose noticeably drops as the forward wing is small enough to be sensitive to the reduction in air molecules in the cloud. Second, when you go to land, you actually push forward on the yoke. The props, which become a barn door when power is removed, are actually behind the center of gravity. When their drag increases the nose pitches up. You need to “anti flare’ to keep the nose from going too high.

Anything else you'd care to add about the plane in general would be greatly appreciated.

When I got my plane new, I had lots of infant mortality/growing pains type issues. When I asked if this was normal or did I have a lemon, I was told for any other turboprop, yes I had a lemon. But the Piaggio has all the system sophistication of a mid-size biz jet and for that, no, the problems I was experiencing were in the range of normal. Everything settled out after about 6 months.

Has it been reliable? Good dispatch?

Yes by and large, after the early problems, the plane has been very reliable. Problems I have had have related to brakes, and door seals mainly. I have had 2 different flap motors go out too.

How have you found servicing the plane? Do you use a Piaggio service center or just a regular shop?

I have a mechanic assigned to my plane by the outfit that manages it, but most maintenance is done by a service center. I am in northern California and I use Mather Aviation in Sacramento.

How is the pricing on parts and service from Piaggio? Would you say it's more expensive than average, or about the same?

I have no real knowledge about other plane’s parts pricing but if I had to guess, yes things seem expensive. Also, its not such a high volume plane, that should also lend itself to price gouging by suppliers.

How are parts lead times and accessibility? Does it get shipped from Genoa, or is there stock in the US when something needs replacing?

I think most things come from the states. I don’t recall anything coming directly from Genoa.

What would you say your average annaul/phase/100hr inspection costs have been?

I still need to research this so I will send my other answers now and get back to you on this. I thought it would have been easier to extract from the reports I am given but, alas, its buried in the details.

Heard there's a 12 year overhaul on the landing gear that's expensive. Have you done this and would you be able to indicate the cost of doing it?

Mine is coming up. I have heard it will be very expensive though I have conveniently forgotten the range. Sorry.

Edit: This item is about $100K. The new Evo will have 15 year intervals, and the O/H will cost less as they're moving away from Dowty Rotol. It is expected that the new landing gear will be available as an STC for the older models for those that want to upgrade. This new landing gear will also be anti-skid capable. They could never make anti-skid work on the old gear.

Do you feel Piaggio USA supports the fleet well?

I have been happy. I know the Director of Customer Support personally as we went thru Flight Safety training together and he is a great guy that cares.

Are there any weaknesses in the design from a servicing or repair standpoint? Something that fails more often than not?

Brakes have been a problem though a new design is about to be released on the Avanti3 that I expect to be STC’d for the older fleet. Hoping to eventually get Anti-lock/Anti-Skid too!

Anything else you care to add to service/maintenance would again be greatly appreciated.

Other than I believe in not skimping on the maintenance, I still maintain my plane as if it was in charter, with all the inspections, and pre-flight checks by the mechanic.

Also, anything to do with Rockwell Collins is ridiculously expensive. I am expecting a mulit-hundred thousand dollar quote to get ADS-B in/out where I know for a few thousand dollars I’ll get it on some portable device like a Stratus.




So there you have it, warts and all. Hope this can shed some light on these mysterious fish. The gear overhaul at $100K seems like a big item, but you save that easily on fuel compared to a jet over the 12 years. Plus, most jets and TP's have gear overhaul times that are much shorter and cost beaucoup as well. The Avanti will burn 40-50% less than any jet, knot for knot. It will probably burn 20% less than any other PT6 turboprop knot for knot.


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 Post subject: Re: The definitive Piaggio P180 Avanti thread.
PostPosted: 19 Jul 2015, 12:44 
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Awesome work Adam and thanks for doing the leg work and posting. I share your passion. I really want an evo...the thought of it keeps me working.

Owner pilots tend to be over the top critical of airplanes, particularly ones that they seek justification for not owning despite the fact that it's out if their league in the first place. Heck I do it :)

Nobody rains on the Ferrari parade by saying "it's always in the shop, nobody can work on them, parts are hard and expensive"
Instead they say, "that's so cool, awesome, you're my hero, I want one, etc."

Italian things are just what they are and God intended them that way... to be beautiful and fast and temperamental and unjustifiable and hot and expensive and frustrating and thrilling.

Ferrari, Ducati, Piaggio, Perelli, Momo, Sofia Lauren, etc. :D

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 Post subject: Re: The definitive Piaggio P180 Avanti thread.
PostPosted: 19 Jul 2015, 13:41 
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Location: Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA
Aircraft: Turbo Commander 680V
Thanks Tyler. Yep, want one pretty bad myself. :sad:

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 Post subject: Re: The definitive Piaggio P180 Avanti thread.
PostPosted: 19 Jul 2015, 13:54 
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Location: CMB7, Ottawa, Canada
Aircraft: TBM - C185
It use the same PT6A-66D as the TBM 850/900.

Its the highest hp Pratt PT6 available at altitude.

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 Post subject: Re: The definitive Piaggio P180 Avanti thread.
PostPosted: 19 Jul 2015, 14:57 
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Location: California
Aircraft: C182 B350
My observation is that these aircraft got a bad Mx rap from the Avantair gig.

I'm close to one of their big Mx bases, and the guys have made it perfectly clear that they do not believe that the airplane was even remotely built for the 24/7/365 kind of operation typical of the frax/135 world.

For typical 91 utilization, it's supposedly a whole different, and peaceful animal.

Personally, I like everything about them except the sound. It's the only airplane I can think of, that I can't stand the sound of. Conversely, I LOVE the sound of MU-2's. So I do know that I am the one with the problem...

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 Post subject: Re: The definitive Piaggio P180 Avanti thread.
PostPosted: 19 Jul 2015, 15:53 
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Username Protected wrote:
My observation is that these aircraft got a bad Mx rap from the Avantair gig.

I'm close to one of their big Mx bases, and the guys have made it perfectly clear that they do not believe that the airplane was even remotely built for the 24/7/365 kind of operation typical of the frax/135 world.

For typical 91 utilization, it's supposedly a whole different, and peaceful animal.

Personally, I like everything about them except the sound. It's the only airplane I can think of, that I can't stand the sound of. Conversely, I LOVE the sound of MU-2's. So I do know that I am the one with the problem...

I love the P180 but I don't feel "the plane wasn't built for 135" is an excuse. 135's run the hell out of the PC12 and Phenom and Citation and they're used a lot for Part 91. No issues. Why would the P180 have so many more issues than a Pilatus or Phenom or Citation? That excuse doesn't make me want to own one.


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 Post subject: Re: The definitive Piaggio P180 Avanti thread.
PostPosted: 19 Jul 2015, 16:15 
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Oh, I hear ya.

I guess what I meant is that it's probably ownable if you fly under 200 hrs per year.

I would think that a Ferrari would be a maint PITA if you drove it 75k year after year...

PC-12 probably wouldn't notice if you put 2000 hrs/yr on it.

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 Post subject: Re: The definitive Piaggio P180 Avanti thread.
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2015, 05:33 
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Location: Brisbane QLD Australia
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Username Protected wrote:
I would think that a Ferrari would be a maint PITA if you drove it 75k year after year...


I did 1k in my 599GTB and it was a maintenance PITA at that. 75k I'd be more broke.

I love the 180 and MU2, an outlier I am.

Andrew


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 Post subject: Re: The definitive Piaggio P180 Avanti thread.
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2015, 06:25 
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Company: Wolff Group
Location: Queensland
Aircraft: King Air C90GTi
I love these planes. One day I'd love to get one just because they are different. There are none down under which would be a pain for backup.

I drive a Range Rover when a Toyota would do the same thing and cost less. I'm sure this would be like that. I'll just use the excuse that I just want one. :D


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 Post subject: Re: The definitive Piaggio P180 Avanti thread.
PostPosted: 21 Jul 2015, 22:55 
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Username Protected wrote:
It use the same PT6A-66D as the TBM 850/900.

Its the highest hp Pratt PT6 available at altitude.

More than the -67 series which have 300-800 or so more horsepower?


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 Post subject: Re: The definitive Piaggio P180 Avanti thread.
PostPosted: 21 Jul 2015, 23:20 
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Lol, really? the argument is, "my airplane doesn't work well when I fly it too often"? Are you familiar with the expression, "GTFO"? That's rubbish. I know very little about the Piagio other than it looks cool, goes far very high and fast, and likes runway, but this business about it not being able to be run often is bullshit. Properly engineered airplanes run BETTER when flown often.

Also, Dowty/Rotol can suck it. 100K for landing gear on a calendar? Ha. You're nuts if you give them a thin dime. This is the same type of gouging crapola they pull on Turbo Commanders.

Sexy or not, you'd be nuts to run this bird. It's very cool, but it's a toy, not reliable, economical transport if the numbers are to be believed.

Speaking of being realistic and Turbo Commander MX, you flying that "bargain" Commander yet Adam? That thing is fast- I bet you're loving it!


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 Post subject: Re: The definitive Piaggio P180 Avanti thread.
PostPosted: 22 Jul 2015, 16:12 
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Location: Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA
Aircraft: Turbo Commander 680V
Turbo Commander gear overhaul is $15K each 5 years. Isn't the King Air version of that closer to $35K every 5 years? Seems to be the norm in the TP world. I think the MU-2 might be the exception, but not sure.

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 Post subject: Re: The definitive Piaggio P180 Avanti thread.
PostPosted: 22 Jul 2015, 18:07 
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Location: Nevada City, CA
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I had a 600nm round trip in one, riding in the back. I was amazed and pleased at how quiet it was, inside at least.

Probably quieter than my C421 was.


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 Post subject: Re: The definitive Piaggio P180 Avanti thread.
PostPosted: 22 Jul 2015, 18:33 
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The gear inspection on the Commander is 35k. The Mits' only real calendar item is on the four blade props, and that's inspect and/or OH every seven years. There is a guy at a FSDO collecting data now, that AD should be going away.

I wasn't being flip about your Commander Adam. Doesn't your particular model avoid the gear and prop calendar stuff?


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 Post subject: Re: The definitive Piaggio P180 Avanti thread.
PostPosted: 22 Jul 2015, 21:04 
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Adam,

A friend of mine flys one if you want another source for info.

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