Full-power flight with no mixture adjustment makes fuel planning easy as well. While there is no display for fuel burn, Lubore claims it’s unnecessary. He says the airplane burns no more than six gallons per side on the climb and five gallons during cruise. For a total of 10 gallons per hour, you’ll get 145 knots cruise speed. “I have tested the airplane over and over and get consistent fuel burn and speed,” Lubore says.
With push-rod-activated controls, the airplane has a very direct control response, making it a joy to fly. Stalls are at least as uneventful as in any single-engine trainers I’ve flown, with the buffet coming a little over 50 knots with full flaps. Single-engine climb performance in the P2006T is quite impressive at about 250 fpm. Single-engine service ceiling is published as 7,500 feet.
Engine restart requires electrical power. The air force on the propeller is insufficient to overcome the high-compression design of the engine. This fact caused the FAA to require Tecnam to insert a backup battery during the Part 23 certification work — an effort that was concluded on Nov. 10, 2010, nearly a year and a half after the European Aviation Safety Agency certified the airplane. Another change required by the FAA was to move the carburetor heat controls to the right, where the mixtures are generally located. The carb heat controls were originally placed in the middle — as was the case with the airplane I flew for this report.
Among the first to take delivery of a P2006T when the FAA certification was finally completed was Airline Training Solutions, a family-run professional pilot-training facility at Craig Airport (CRG) in Jacksonville, Florida. The school recently opened its door with the concept of training pilots from day one in a multiengine airplane. Program director Hayden Malone says the concept would not have come to fruition without the Tecnam Twin. “We bought the Tecnam Twin because it was the only airplane that would fit our role,” Malone says. “It was strictly a business decision, but once we got it we also found we love it.”
Malone and the students at ATS have put nearly 300 hours on the twin since he took delivery at the beginning of the year. “It’s a well-built airplane and we’ve had no problems with it,” he says.
The Tecnam Twin is likely to be a very successful multiengine trainer. Another good purpose for the P2006T has been aerial surveying. An Austrian company, Airborne Technologies, has developed the Tecnam MMA (multi mission aircraft), which received an STC from EASA earlier this year. A multisensor camera system can be extended through a large hatch in the floor, similar to a bomb bay.
While the seating capacity, useful load and speed limit the practical use of the P2006T today, with a few planned upgrades the airplane could become a winner in other areas of use. The gross weight is expected to increase to approximately 2,710 pounds soon, and the targeted empty weight for a standard equipped airplane is 1,723 pounds. This weight change would give the Tecnam a satisfying useful load of close to 1,000 pounds.
There is no de-ice system, but Tecnam is working with TKS to install its weeping wing system — a process that the company hopes to complete in 2012. Tecnam is also working on a factory-installed air-conditioning system. A portable system is currently available as an option.
With a few improvements in the making, the Tecnam Twin has a good chance to attract customers far beyond the training and aerial surveying market. Its ability to burn any type of mogas gives the airplane an edge in the international market. And with the increased acceptance of the Rotax in the United States, the airplane may do well here too.