The first of Tecnam's P2012 Travellers have entered service after a six-year development program.
The Lycoming-powered twin was designed as a direct replacement aircraft for the world's ageing fleet of charter twins such as the Cessna 400 series and the Piper PA-31.
Company Managing Director Giovanni Pascale took on the job of ferrying one of two aircraft himself across the Atlantic from Capua, Italy, to launch customer Cape Air in Hyannis, Massachusetts. They are the first of 100 airframes the airline has on order.
The 11-seat Traveller, which runs two Lycoming TEO-540C1A six-cylinder turbo-charged piston engines, was the inspiration of Tecnam doyen Professore Luigi Pascale, who envisioned a modern replacement for legacy charter twins, a role that was being increasingly filled by single-engine turbo-props (SETP).
With many short-haul and charter airlines preferring twins, legacy aircraft were being retained in fleets because operators considered there was no like-for-like replacement on offer. This is the niche that Tecnam believes the Traveller is best suited for.
The Traveller has an MTOW of 3600 kg, a useful load of 1332 kg an a maximum cruise speed of 190 KTAS at 10,000 feet. With a range of 950 nm and a fuel capacity of 750 l, the P2012 is slightly slower and has a lesser range than both the Cessna 402 and Piper Navajo, but has a greater useful load than the Navajo.
Tecnam has said that the high-wing configuration of the Traveller is generating a lot of interest in Australia.