(September 2011) Just fly it like a Cessna 172,” said Tecnam’s demo pilot David Lubore as we approached to land at Plant City Airport (KPCM) in Florida, just west of Lakeland Linder Airport, at the completion of our demo flight. I set the airplane up on downwind at around 90 knots with the gear down. I added flaps, turned base, added more flaps, then turned final and lined the airplane up with Runway 28. Lubore remained quiet as I continued the approach leg, getting closer and closer to the narrow strip. With full flaps extended, I came over the numbers at 70 knots — only a couple of knots faster than I would have in a Skyhawk. I flared the airplane, just like I had done thousands of times in a Skyhawk, and it settled down on the ground with a smooth squeak.
Other than the slight speed change, there was really just one difference from what I had become accustomed to in the 172. I had to manage two throttles in my hand. I wasn’t flying a single-engine airplane. I was flying the P2006T Tecnam Twin
The Tecnam Twin P2006T is an all-metal, high-wing FAA Part 23-certified airplane powered by two 100-horsepower Rotax 912 S3 engines. The airplane is produced by Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam, based in Capua, Italy — a town founded sometime around 600 B.C. and located less than 14 nautical miles north of the historic city of Naples and about two hours south of Rome. Several aviation universities and a company called CIRA — Italian Aerospace Research Center, Capua — are located in this aviation-saturated region, which also houses some of Tecnam’s subcontractors.
Just as Capua dates far back in human history, Tecnam’s story began comparably early by aviation standards. Tecnam’s president and primary airplane designer, Professor Luigi Pascale, or “Il Professore” as the Tecnam employees amicably call him, began designing airplanes with his brother Giovanni in 1948. Through the decades, the company has been a true family business. Unfortunately, Giovanni died several years ago, but his son, Paolo, serves as managing director of Tecnam.
Tecnam has become known for its very light, single-engine airplanes, but Luigi Pascale is no stranger to twins. He designed the very successful P68 while the family company was known as Partenavia. At first glance, there is no doubt that the six-seat airplane originated from the same genome as the Tecnam Twin. Partenavia was sold to the Italian government in the 1970s, but the P68 is still produced by Vulcan Air, a company located in Naples that bought the rights to the airplane.
For several years, the Pascale brothers focused their efforts on building parts for several airplane manufacturers — Boeing, ATR, Learjet, Falcon and Dornier, to name a few. In 1986 they founded Tecnam and, once again, began designing and manufacturing light, single-engine airplanes.
Why would an airplane manufacturer consider producing a new multiengine airplane when several single-engine airplanes on the market produce the same speed with only one engine to feed and maintain? Operators who prefer the redundancy of having two engines and training facilities with students needing multiengine training and hours to further their flying careers demand twins. But, traditionally, the need for two engines has come at great expense.