Italian manufacturer Tecnam says it is on track for the first flight of its “unique” four-seat P2006T light twin in October and is preparing to produce “around 100 aircraft” in the year following European Aviation Safety Agency certification in late 2007, writes Julian Moxon.

“We have confirmed orders for 10 aircraft so far,” says Tecnam managing director Paolo Pascale. “But we expect many more will want to take advantage of the fixed price and early delivery slots, which we’re making available this month,” he adds.

Tecnam has already won a significant market niche with its series of Rotax 912S-powered P-92 and P-2002 very light aircraft, producing one aircraft a day at its factories at Naples and Capua, Italy. The new twin is intended to compete directly with traditional four-seater singles such as the Cessna 172 Skyhawk and Piper Arrow. “The P2006T weighs about the same as a 172,” says Pascale, “and costs around €400,000 [$486,000]. It’s the first twin which costs the same as a single.”

Pascale claims the twin 100hp (75kW) Rotax engines, which can run on automotive fuel as well as Avgas, will cost “dramatically” less to run than Lycoming-powered singles.

The first prototype is now under construction using production-standard jigs. “This means we can start production as soon as we’re confident of the configuration,” says Pascale. Construction is of aluminium, the single-spar wings containing integrated 100 litre (26USgal) fuel tanks outboard of the engines to yield a 1,270km (685nm) range at the P2006T’s nominal 147kt (270km/h) cruising speed at 75% power and 7,000ft (2,135m) altitude. In comparison, the Cessna Skyhawk cruises at 122kt with a range of 1,075km.

Source: Flight International