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Piaggio Aero Industries S.p.A. is a multinational aerospace manufacturing company headquartered in Genoa, Italy. Its origins date back to the former Rinaldo Piaggio S.p.A. company, making it one of the world's oldest airplane manufacturers. Piaggio Aero Industries was established in its current form in November 1998, when a group of shareholders headed by Piero Ferrari and Josè Di Mase acquired the assets of Rinaldo Piaggio.
Piaggio Aero Industries designs, develops, constructs and maintains aircraft, aero-engines and aircraft structural components. It has a subsidiary in the United States, Piaggio America, located at West Palm Beach, Florida.
Piaggio was founded in Genoa in 1884, originally outfitting ocean liners and manufacturing rolling stock for the developing railway infrastructure at the turn of the century. Due to financial gains in this industry, Rinaldo Piaggio was able to build a factory in 1906 in Final Marina. Today, the site of Piaggio's facility is in Finale Ligure, where Piaggio Aero began to manufacture aircraft and aircraft engines.
The 1920s served as an important time in the company's history when, Piaggio Aero brought on Giovanni Pegna and Giuseppe Gabrielli, two aeronautical engineers, to help develop Piaggio's aeronautic line. Together they created modern technical solutions for aviation, that brought forth the design and build of the world's first helicopter.
Senator Rinaldo Piaggio died in 1938, at 71 years old, thus ending the Rinaldo Piaggio era. When the battles of World War II left the company's facilities in ruins, it was Rinaldo's sons Enrico, inventor of the Vespa motor scooter, and Armando, who began the rebuilding process.
1948 was the year Piaggio launched the Piaggio P.136, a twin-engine seaplane, that was operated by the Italian Air Force, when liaison transport missions were needed. Due to the increase of basic aircraft training, the German Luftwaffe ordered 265 Piaggio P.149 units in 1953. By 1957 Piaggio created the Piaggio P.166 light transport aircraft that was marketed and produced for the military and civilian personnel worldwide.
In 1960, Piaggio, under the license of the Rolls Royce Viper and started manufacturing jet engines. This move led to the expansion of Piaggio's current business.
In 1966, the company separated into two separate entities, one was Vespa motor scooter and the other Piaggio Aero. Though one focused on the developments of the motor scooter and the other on aeronautical, both companies still maintain the Piaggio name.
By 1998, the assets of Rinaldo Piaggio S.p.A. exchanged hands and a group of entrepreneurs headed by the Di Mase and Ferrari families and Piaggio became Piaggio Aero Industries. This acquiring of assets brought Piaggio Aero Industries back to its roots, as a designer and producer of business aircraft.
In 2006 Mubadala Development Company, acquired a 35% stake Piaggio Aero Industries S.p.A. Mubadala Development Company is a wholly owned investment vehicle of the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.
In 2008, the Indian multinational conglomerate the Tata Group acquired a one-third stake in Piaggio Aero Industries, becoming one of the primary shareholders alongside Piero Ferrari, the Di Mase family and Mubadala Development Company. As part of the acquisition Tata gained the right to appoint three of the nine seats on the board, and one of the three seats on the management committee.
Piaggio Aero Industries has production facilities covering 120,000 square meters (1.3 million square feet) in the northwest Italian cities of Genoa Sestri and Finale Ligure, as well as a High Technology Center based in Pozzuoli, near Naples.
The final aircraft assembly and flight-testing of aircraft is located at main facility in Genoa, which includes the corporate headquarters. Also located here is the Company's new JAR 145 certified service center, which offers full service and support to Piaggio P.180 Avanti customers as well as other aircraft. Piaggio Aero also operates two additional service centers, one at Rome's Ciampino Airport and the other at the Pratica di Mare Air Base. These service centers provide support services to commercial, government and military customers.
Aircraft and engine component manufacturing operations, general engineering, and engine maintenance and overhaul are all undertaken at Finale Ligure. Operations include a maintenance center and two production areas, one for engines and sheet metal parts, another for major aircraft sub-assemblies and aero structures. The High Technology Center is located in the Campania region of Italy, near Naples, focuses on aero structure design and innovative systems research. It includes the Piaggio High Technology (PHT) division, a corporate research facility which focuses on innovative aeronautical technologies. The PHT division is a joint partnership between Piaggio Aero Industries, the Italian Aerospace Research Centre (CIRA), and other European research centers. The goal is to establish the PHT as a Center of Excellence for aeronautic research and development. This center is projected to continue the Piaggio Aero tradition of new and innovative aerospace technologies and products.
Piaggio Aero is building a new modern manufacturing facility in Villanova d'Albenga, about 70 kilometers west of Genoa. Designed around the principles of lean manufacturing technologies, this plant will allow Piaggio Aero to increase production capacity, production efficiency and optimize workflow.
Piaggio Aero Industries is the only company in the world active both in the aircraft and the aero-engine business. It currently manufactures parts and performs maintenance, repair and overhaul operations on jet, turbo shaft and turboprop engines under license from Rolls-Royce and Honeywell; it also holds Long Term Agreements from other Original Equipment Manufacturers, including Pratt & Whitney, Pratt & Whitney Canada and Micro turbo, whose engines power civil and military aircraft and helicopters.
In 2000, Piaggio Aero Industries signed a collaboration agreement with Rolls-Royce to join the RTM 322 turbo shaft engine program as a manufacturing partner. Currently, Piaggio Aero Industries manufactures a significant share of the RTM322 engine parts.
In 2003 Piaggio Aero Industries was selected by Pratt & Whitney to supply the Low Pressure Turbine case and the bearing compartment housings for the F.135 engine, powering the F. 35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).
In 2006 Piaggio Aero Industries has signed an agreement with Pratt & Whitney Canada to acquire 25% of the share capital of P&WC Turbo Engines Corp., which is in charge of the production of the PW206 – PW207 helicopter engines which fits out many helicopter models such as the Agusta A109 Power', the Eurocopter EC/135, the Bell Helicopter B427, the MD Helicopters MD900 and the Kazan Ansat. Piaggio Aero will produce engine components and will be house of the final assembly line as well as the maintenance overall al repair activities for the Pw206-207 engines.
Piaggio Aero Industries has also experience in the area of infrared suppression systems (IRS) for helicopters; the Agusta A129, part of the Italian Army fleet, is currently equipped with an IRS, designed, tested and manufactured by Piaggio Aero Industries.
Piaggio Aero has a long tradition in the manufacture of major aerostructures. The company has many years' experience in designing complex aircraft components and sub assemblies and in manufacturing them using state-of-the-art machine tools.
- Piaggio P.2 (single-engine low-wing single-seat monoplane fighter prototype)
- Piaggio P.3 (four-engine biplane night bomber prototype)
- Piaggio P.6 (reconnaissance floatplane)
- Piaggio P.7 (high-wing racing monoplane for the 1929 Schneider Trophy seaplane race; unflown) it:Piaggio P.C.7
- Piaggio P.8 (single-engine parasol wing single-seat reconnaissance floatplane)
- Piaggio P.9 (single-engine high-wing two-seat monoplane)
- Piaggio P.10 (single-engine three-seat biplane floatplane)
- Piaggio P.11 (licensed copy of the Blackburn Lincock)
- Piaggio P.16 (three-engine heavy bomber)
- Piaggio P.23 (four-engine commercial transport prototype)
- Piaggio P.23R (three-engine commercial transport prototype)
- Piaggio P.32 (twin-engine bomber)
- Piaggio P.50 (four-engine heavy bomber)
- Piaggio P.108 (four-engine heavy bomber)
- Piaggio P.111 (high-altitude research aircraft)
- Piaggio P.119 (single-engine single-seat fighter)
- Piaggio P.136 (amphibian flying boat)
- Piaggio P.148 (two-seat primary/aerobatic trainer)
- Piaggio P.149 (four/five-seat utility/liaison or two-seat trainer, also known as Focke-Wulf FWP-149D)
- Piaggio P.150 (two-seat trainer)
- Piaggio P.166 (utility light transport)
- Piaggio P.180 Avanti : business aircraft
- Piaggio PD-808 (twin-jet light utility transport)
- Piaggio P1XX (under development)
As a result of its being the business aircraft of the "Scuderia Ferrari" racing team, the P.180 Avanti II is the only aircraft to display the 'Cavallino Rampante' prancing horse emblem as part of its livery. This marks a return to aviation for the emblem; its origins date back to the First World War, when the Italian fighter pilot Francesco Baracca, who flew over 30 successful missions on behalf of the Allies, adopted a distinctive prancing horse as his personal emblem, and had it emblazoned prominently on his aircraft. In 1923, Enzo Ferrari's victory on the Salvio circuit in Ravenna so impressed Count Baracca's mother, the Countess Paolina, that she donated her son's symbol to him, allowing him permission to use the horse on his cars for good luck.