Flight of Fancy: Ferrari takes to the sky

Like their competitors, Ferrari uses advanced aerodynamics to keep their cars on the ground. But what if they flipped their technology upside down to create an aircraft? The result could very well be this, the Piaggio P180 Avanti II.

Beyond the usual correlation between the automotive and aeronautical industries – especially evident in six-figure sportscars and in formula motor racing – the ties between Piaggio Aero and Ferrari run far deeper. Piaggio, which sponsors the Scuderia, is chaired by Enzo's heir and company vice-chairman Piero Ferrari. The aircraft pictured is the one Ferrari uses to shuttle their executives and star drivers around Europe, if not the world, to unveil new cars, win grands prix and cut ribbons on everything from theme parks to retail stores. Interestingly, instead of jet propulsion, the Avanti II uses backwards-mounted turboprops. With a 450 mph top speed, it's the fastest turboprop in the world. It has a 1,800-mile range and 41,000-ft maximum cruising altitude but uses 30% less fuel than a comparable jet.

Of course this isn't the first time the prancing horse has appeared on an aircraft. The logo, legend has it, was emblazoned on the plane of Italian WWI flying ace Count Francesco Baracca, whose mother presented it to Enzo Ferrari after reportedly being impressed by his driving style while racing towards the checkered flag at the Salvio circuit in 1923. Whether the legend is true or not, the plane makes a more suitable canvas for the Ferrari logo than a Segway scooter.

[Source: Piaggio Aero via Luxurylaunches.com]

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