The prototype Piaggio PD.808 at the 1966 Hanover Air Show wearing Italian Air Force markings
Role Business & military jet
Manufacturer Piaggio Aero
Designer Douglas Aircraft Company
First flight 29 August 1964
Introduction November 1966
Primary user Italian Air Force
Number built 24

The Piaggio PD.808 was an Italian business jet built by Piaggio. It was designed as a joint venture between Piaggio and Douglas Aircraft Company of Long Beach, California, United States.[1]

Design and development

Originally named the PD.808 Vespa Jet the business jet was designed in a joint venture between Piaggio and the Douglas Aircraft Company.[1] The basic design work was carried out by Douglas and the prototype was built at the Piaggio factory at Finale Ligure.[2]

The PD.808 was a low-wing cantilever cabin-monoplane with tip-tanks and powered by two rear-mounted Bristol Siddeley Viper 525 turbojets. It has retractable tricycle landing gear and was originally designed with a cabin for a pilot and six-passengers.[1]

The first Viper 525-powered prototype (with Italian Serial Number MM577) first flew on 29 August 1965, this was followed by a second Viper 525 powered prototype and two civil demonstrators.[2]

The company tried to interest commercial operators (including offering a General Electric CJ610 variant) but the only interest was from the Italian Air Force as a liaison, training and radar calibration aircraft with an order for 25.[2] The Italian Air Force aircraft were powered by Viper 526 turbojets.[3]


PD.808 in a special commemorative colour scheme at the aircraft show Giornata Azzurra 2006



Accidents and incidents

On 18 June 1968 one of the demonstration aircraft I-PIAI crashed in bad-weather when it flew into the side of Mount Jaizkibel, near San Sebastian, Spain, all six on-board including the Italian businessman Lino Zanussi and the Piaggio chief test pilot Davide Albertazzi were killed.[5]

Aircraft on display

A PD.808 preserved at Lucca, Italy

Specifications (PD.808)

Data from ,[8] Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide[9]

General characteristics



  1. ^ a b c "Vespa-Jet". Flight International. 8 March 1962. p. 367.
  2. ^ a b c Simpson 1991, pp. 232–233
  3. ^ "Vespa-Jet" (PDF). Flight International. 8 August 1968. p. 367.
  4. ^ "Piaggio PD.808" Aeronautica Italiana
  5. ^ "PD-808 Crash" (PDF). Flight International. 4 July 1968. p. 27.
  6. ^ "Airframe Dossier - DouglasPD-808, s/n MM62015 AMI, c/r I-PIAY". Aerial Visuals. AerialVisuals.ca. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Vigna di Valle - Museum, Italy". Spottingmode. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  8. ^ Taylor, John W.R., ed. (1975). Jane's all the world's aircraft, 1975–76 (66th annual ed.). New York: Franklin Watts Inc. pp. 137–138. ISBN 978-0531032503.
  9. ^ Rendall, David (1995). Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide. Glasgow, UK: HarperCollinsPublishers. p. 505. ISBN 0-00-470980-2.


Gaillard, Pierre (March 1989). "Piaggio-Douglas PD-808". Le Fana de l'Aviation (in French) (232): 14–18. ISSN 0757-4169.