Owner of First Production Piaggio P.180 Purchases New Avanti II Aircraft

GENEVA (May 4, 2006) - Piaggio Aero announced today that Robert J. ?Bob? Pond, the owner of the first production Piaggio P.180 Avanti, has ordered a new Piaggio Avanti II to replace his original model. Pond said that the early Piaggio will be added to his public collection of more than 25 aircraft.

Pond, a Navy World War II veteran and military aircraft collector, opened the The Palm Springs Air Museum in 1996 after retiring as CEO of Advance Machine Company, a leading manufacturer of industrial floor cleaning machines. The 67,000-square-foot museum is home to his collection of legendary World War II aircraft, including a P-51 Mustang, P-38 Lightning, B-17 bomber and a P-40 Warhawk. Unlike most other museums, Pond still flies those aircraft today. Pond has amassed more than 22,000 hours in the air in more than 60 years of flying.

?I really like the Piaggio P.180, it has served us well,? Pond said. ?My wife, Jo, is Italian, so this plane holds special meaning for us. We?re looking forward to flying together in our new Avanti II?.
?All of us at Piaggio are delighted that Bob Pond has decided to confirm his long standing loyalty to our product and to our company?, said Piaggio Aero Industries Chief Executive Jose Di Mase.

The Avanti II?s reliability and performance make it the most advanced turboprop in corporate aviation and the fastest turboprop in the world. With a range of more than 1,800 miles at a speed of 398 kts (450mph) and a maximum cruising altitude of 41,000 ft., its overall performance is similar to that of a jet, but with 30 percent less fuel and lower operating costs. Moreover with a cabin height of 69? and width of 73?, the Avanti II offers passengers a level of comfort matching that of much larger and more costly aircraft. The Avanti II is licensed to operate with a single pilot and can carry up to nine passengers.

The Avanti II also features enhanced avionics and engines. The flight deck includes Rockwell Collins? Pro Line 21 avionics suite, featuring three 10?? x 8? liquid crystal adaptive flight displays, the FMS 3000 flight management system and the AHS 3000 attitude heading reference system.

Piaggio Aero has won international recognition for its new Avanti II and has orders for more than 100 of these aircraft worth $630 million. At the NBAA Show in Orlando, Florida in November 2005, U.S. fractional operator Avantair confirmed its latest order for 36 Avanti II aircraft with Piaggio America for delivery from 2008 through to 2010. The deal was worth more than $230 million.

The first Avanti II was delivered in December 2005 to a Swiss customer. The first Avanti II aircraft in the United States will be completed and delivered next month, following US FAA certification awarded in March 2006.