December 11 – Piaggio Avanti and Mooney 305 Rocket

Friday, December 11 — In at 6:50, skies clear, Citation and Citation XL on the ramp. Winds calm. Clipped and saved aviation-related articles from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal and today’s State Journal-Register. Visitors from left seats in a Cessna Citation CJ3 of Meier Corp, a Mooney Rocket conversion and Piaggio Avanti (12th off the original production line in 1981 with all analogue instruments (they’re the fourth owner. Company owner likes it so much he’s buying a newer one too) all visited the office and showed me their airplanes. Avanti pilot showed me inside and let me photog extensively. Mooney pilot came down for the funeral of a friend — ex B-52 pilot — at Camp Butler national cemetery. All nice fellows, many excellent pictures. Also phot’d an Embraer ER145XR that had diverted to SPI because of bad weather at St. Louis. He was on the ground 45 minutes before leaving to finish his delivery. Horizon the FBO had a nice luncheon for its employees, and I was invited. It was all delicious and friendly, an excellent gathering. Processed pictures early into the afternoon, but I became very tired from all the great food. Napped about 45 min with my head on my desk. It helped. Resumed picture processing at 5:30. Kept at it ALL EVENING and didn’t finish the pictures I took TODAY! (Not a complaint, by the way.) and photo’d a Jr. Ernhart Citation X in light rain and floodlights before going home at 9:50.      Day rating: A

Below are the visiting Avanti and 305 Rocket mod Mooney Mk.20. Will feature the Citation Sunday.

The Avanti grew up in Hutchinson, Kansas, close to the Beech plant when they were making Starships. Seeing them in flight inspired him to become a pilot. He has flown a few Starships as guests of owners, and is very familiar with Piaggio Avantis. He learned how to fly the type in Genoa, Italy. The one he flies today was the 12th manufactured. It was started when Gates was still involved, finished in Italy in 1981, and his employer is the fourth owner of this machine. He likes it so much he’s buying another, newer Avanti. After the tour of the airplane, the pilot visited AeroKnow Museum’s Research Room where I showed him the Avanti file which seemed to impress him.  Many more pictures of this bird will be featured in an AeroKnow Museum Gallery of Flight post when time permits.

I had never encountered a 305 Rocket conversion of the Mooney M20 pictured here. It has a 300 hp engine and a liquid weeping (glycol, I think) de-icing cystem for leading edges and the propeller. The owner-pilot loves this airplane.




About Job Conger

I am a freelance aviation, business and tourism writer, poet, songwriter. My journalism appears regularly in Springfield Business Journal and Illinois Times. I am author of Springfield Aviation from Arcadia Publishing and available everywhere. As founder/director of AeroKnow Museum (AKM) and a volunteer with American Aviation Historical Society (AAHS), I created this blog to share news about AKM activity and aviation history.
This entry was posted in aviation, Mooney M20 305 Rocket, Piaggio Avanti, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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