by Nancy Blake
Published in Midwest Flyer – August/September 2018
During Sun ‘n Fun 2018, I visited the Tecnam Aircraft Company display to say hello to a friend who is an aircraft dealer for a couple of aircraft manufacturers and has just added Tecnam to his line.
Tecnam is an Italian aircraft company founded by two brothers, Luigi and Giavonni Pasquale of Capua, Italy in the early 1950s. The manufacturer had an array of aircraft on display including a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA); single-engine aircraft; a three-door/high-wing aircraft; and a twin-engine aircraft.
The history of Tecnam began with their first aircraft – an LSA called “P48 Astore” that made its debut on April 2, 1951. The “P” in the Astore was named for the founders’ last name, Pasquale; 48 for the year they conceived the initial design; and Astore in honor of the bird of prey that soars in the mountains near Capua, Italy.
Since 1948, Tecnam’s product line has grown to include certified single and twin-engine aircraft, light sport aircraft, and advanced ultralights. Tecnam is the world’s second largest producer of general aviation and light sport aircraft with a global fleet of over 7,000 aircraft and 100 Tecnam Support Centers, including one in Sebring, Florida.
The P Astore LSA is a single-engine, two-place, low-wing metal airplane. It has a Rotax 912ULS2/912s/914 turbo engine. The fuel capacity is 29 U.S. gallons, and the fuel types are either avgas and mogas. Maximum speed is 120 kts. Maximum range is 750 nm.
The P2 Eaglet is a single-engine, two-seat, all-metal, high-wing LSA and is a robust trainer for many categories – sport pilot through commercial pilot certificates. Side visibility, smooth aerodynamic lines, and a low-profile panel help accommodate a wide range of avionics. The fuel capacity is 22.4 gallons and the fuel type is either mogas or avgas. Maximum speed is 120 kts.
The P2008 LSA is a two seat, high-wing airplane, with a carbon fiber fuselage, metal wings and stabilizer. This combination has resulted in a more fuel efficient and much quieter aircraft. There’s a choice of three engines, two or three-blade fixed pitch propellers, and the aircraft is fuel efficient at 4.5 gph. The aircraft can burn either avgas or mogas, has a maximum range of 633 nm, and a maximum speed of 120 kts.
The P2010 is an FAA certified four-seat, three-door airplane with an all-carbon fiber fuselage, and a metal wing and stabilizer that compares to a Cessna 172/182. The P2010 is powered by a Lycoming IO-360-M1A engine or an optional IO-390-C3B6 engine. The fuel capacity is 63.4 gallons. The cabin has a large instrument panel that allows the owner to equip the aircraft with a variety of avionics packages. Propeller options include a fixed pitch propeller and two variable pitch propellers. The plane has a maximum range of 670 nm. Maximum speed ranges between 134 and 146 kts, depending on which engine and propeller is selected.
The P2006T is a four-place, twin-engine, all-metal airplane, equipped with two Rotax 912S engines. The aircraft has a two-blade constant speed, full feathering propeller. Fuel consumption is 9 U.S. gph total for both engines. The engines can use mogas or avgas. Range is 742 nm. Maximum cruise speed is 150 kts. NASA has selected the P2006T as the airframe on which it will evaluate the potential of Leading Edge Asynchronous Propeller Technology (LEAPTech), with the aim of developing safer, more energy efficient, and greener general aviation aircraft that operate at a lower cost than most aircraft today.
The P2012 Traveller is an 11-seat, twin-engine aircraft, equipped with Lycoming TEO-540-CIA engines, and two three-blade constant speed propellers. Fuel consumption is 30 U.S. gph total for both engines. The engines can burn 100/130 avgas, 100LL avgas and UL100 gas. Its range is 1,137 nm. Maximum speed is 190 kts@10,000 feet. The Traveller was designed to enter the regional airline market.
Tecnam aircraft all have stylish Italian-inspired interiors that are extremely comfortable. The exterior paint schemes and detailing are crisp and attractive.
My visit to the Tecnam display at Sun ‘n Fun piqued my interest enough that I wanted to visit the Tecnam facility in Sebring, Fla. There, I met with Shannon Yeager, the Tecnam Director of U.S. Sales. Shannon is a 12,000-hour pilot who is very enthusiastic about Tecnam. He knows the product line extremely well and test flies many of the aircraft before delivery. All planes are manufactured at the Tecnam factory in Italy. Those sold for U.S. delivery are then shipped in sections to Tecnam in Sebring for final assembly. Shannon gave me a tour of the assembly hangar. About 20 customer airplanes were in various stages of final assembly before delivery to their owners. Planes are only built to fill customer orders and to provide a few demonstration aircraft. None are built for inventory. From the time a plane is ordered, it takes about 5 months for completion and delivery to a U.S. customer. There is a Tecnam dealer network located in the U.S. The Sebring facility is also a service center and carries a large parts inventory, which is available in the U.S. for service centers across the country.
The first demo flight I flew was in the P2010. It is the equivalent size to a Cessna 172. One main difference is that it has three (3) doors instead of two (2). It also has “picture windows” like the P2008. There is increased visibility from front and back windows compared to other aircraft of a comparable size. The view from the cockpit is expansive. The plane handles very well and is very responsive.
The P2010 is normally Tecnam’s biggest seller in the U.S. However, because of some flight school orders, the twin-engine P2006 edged out the P2010 in 2017.
The demo flight in the P2006 was a real treat! Like the P2010, the P2006 has large windows in both the front and rear seats. Passengers literally have a panoramic view outside. The visibility from the cockpit is expansive as well. The P2006 is very comfortable for passengers and easy to enter and exit. It is a very responsive and maneuverable airplane.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Nancy Blake is an instrument-rated pilot and aircraft owner, and resides in Sarasota, Florida with her husband Bill Blake, who is also a pilot and the former director of aeronautics for the State of Illinois. The Blakes are originally from Peoria, Illinois.