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The Piaggio P.180 Avanti was developed as an executive transport that unusually mounted its turboprop engines backwards to push the aircraft. This configuration allows the Avanti to fly faster than most other executive turboprop transports in addition to some jet powered ones too whilst being much more cost efficient. The Avanti first flew in 1986 and is still in production today with other 250 built. The Avanti has enjoyed limited military success and a specialised Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) version has been developed called the Hammerhead - named after the shark as a nod to the canards fitted to the Avanti's nose.
The Avanti is used by nearly all of the military and federal organisations of Italy as a VIP transport and utility aircraft. The Italian air force also had a program to acquire the Hammerhead however this was paused in 2018. The Italian Air Force themselves currently have a fleet of six aircraft.
The 311° Gruppo Volo known as the Reparto Sperimentale Volo (Experimental Flight Unit) will be using one of their P.180 Avanti's as a support aircraft for their three solo display participants at this year's Air Tattoo. It will remain at RAF Fairford over the weekend and join the static displays.Photo Credit: Peter March