Mystery aircraft identified as Italian-built turboprop


A mystery plane which flew into Bundaberg on Saturday morning has been identified as a Piaggio P180 Avanti — an Italian executive transport aircraft with twin turboprop engines.

It seats up to nine people in a pressurised cabin and can be flown by one or two pilots.

The design is a three-surface configuration, having both a small forward wing and a conventional tailplane as well as its main wing, with the main wing spars passing behind the passenger cabin area.

The Avanti is marketed as being faster than other turboprops and many mid-sized jets.

The distinctive grey and blue aircraft which flew into Bundaberg carries the registration M-ETAL and is registered in the Isle of Man.

An airport spokesman confirmed this morning: “Our ground station recorded the aircraft take off at about 0600 (Saturday) and fly in a south-westerly direction until it went out of range.”

A reader contacted us on the weekend: “When I was running around today (23/2/19) 6am with a group fellow runners we saw a plane take off and would like to know if it was a drone? Something like a MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System, not a civilian piloted drone (ie dji mavic drone).”

The YouTube video shows the same aircraft at Gloucestershire Airport in England.