Two of the Piaggio Avanti 180s that were grounded last June by now-defunct Avantair are in the process of being returned to service owing in part to assistance from Elite Air CEO Gray Gibbs’ legal practice.
The Federal Aviation Administration is currently inspecting one of the aircraft for airworthiness, while the other is on track for inspection in the New Year. Gibbs said FAA has pinpointed several parts on the aircraft currently undergoing inspection that will need to be addressed before it can be returned to service.
“The process is moving along,” Gibbs said. “The verdict on how difficult it will be is still out, but I remain optimistic about the future of these aircraft.”
Four other Piaggios formerly operated by Avantair have completed their inspection. Two of them were granted their certificate of airworthiness. While Gibbs has worked with some of these ownership groups on a limited basis, his team has not been “on the front line.”
“We’re happy to have gotten a chance to work with a number of groups,” Gibbs said. “At this point, there have been varying degrees of success, but we will continue to do everything we can to get these owners back in the sky.”
According to Gibbs, part of the difficulty in returning the aircraft to service is overcoming insufficient recordkeeping on the length of service for various parts. In some cases, FAA has agreed to a penalty formula to determine the amount of time that should be attributed to each of them.
“It was great to see FAA do something so practical,” Gibbs said. “It’s exactly what was needed to return these airplanes to the sky.”