Tecnam Astore Achieves Certification

Tecnam Astore at Sun ‘n Fun 2014

Attendees at the opening day of the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In in Lakeland, Florida, had a chance to get the first glimpse of the Tecnam Astore as the Italian light airplane maker unveiled the LSA for the first time to the U.S. market. Not only is it the Astore's first time on American soil, the new design achieved special airworthiness certification from the FAA last week, allowing American customers to take delivery of the newly designed LSA.

Astore customers can choose between Rotax's 912 ULS, the fuel injected 912iS or the turbocharged 914UL engine. There are also two avionics choices with the Dynon SkyView Touch and Garmin G3X Touch avionics both designed specifically for the experimental and LSA environment. The price varies depending on the engine and avionics choice, but it includes an Apple iPad mini preinstalled with a pilot operating handbook, checklists and weight and balance information, and a Levil G Mini, which allows the pilot to get primary flight instrumentation displayed on the iPad.

According to Phil Solomon, Tecnam North America's CEO, the wings are the same as the previous Tecnam low-wing, the P2002 Sierra, but the fuselage has been completely redesigned. I had a chance to sit in the Astore and it is fairly easy to get into without having to step on the seat. The canopy raises when opened to prevent hitting the heads of the cockpit occupants and there was plenty of headroom for me once I closed the canopy. The Astore also features a very large luggage compartment with a separate door.

Tecnam has already delivered about 30 of the two-seat light sport in other countries and is expecting to make the first U.S. delivery soon as deposits have been taken from a few American customers according to Tommy Grimes, president of HOVA Flight Services in Richmond, Virginia, where the Astore that is on display at Sun 'n Fun was assembled. A new 43,000 square foot facility is being established in Sebring, Florida, which will include a variety of services such as assembly, customer service, parts supply etcetera to build upon Tecnam's established dealer network in the U.S. An assembly plant is already in existence in Watsonville, California.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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