Professor Luigi Pascale, co-founder, president, and chief preliminary design officer of Europe's largest general aviation aircraft manufacturer, Tecnam, died unexpectedly on 14 March after a brief illness, aged 93.
Pascale’s passion for aviation was ignited in the 1930s when he began designing and racing model aircraft with his brother Giovanni, who passed away in 1999.
The pair created their first fixed-wing aircraft, the P48 Astore piston-single, in 1948. This nomenclature – the prefix P for Pascale, and the aircraft’s year of design – continues to this day.
In 1957, the brothers established their first manufacturing venture, Partenavia. The company – headquartered in Naples – developed a number of GA and utility aircraft types, including the P66 piston-single, and the twin-engined P68, rights to which are now owned by fellow Italian firm Vulcanair.
Luigi and Giovanni founded Tecnam in 1986 to design and develop light piston-engined models for the owner-flyer, training and special missions markets.
Today, the company – which is headed by Giovanni’s son, Paolo – produces 24 aircraft designs and variants from its facility in Capua, 25km (16 miles) north of Naples. It has delivered around 5,000 aircraft worldwide, including over 190 units in 2016.
The most popular model is the P92 Eaglet light-sport aircraft, of which more than 2,500 units are in service. Tecnam also handed over in early March the 200th P2006T to Polish flying school Bartolini Air.
Luigi Pascale’s largest and final aircraft programme, the 11-seat P2012 Traveller piston-twin, is currently in development, and earmarked for certification in 2018 and service entry in 2019.