Representatives of Italian aircraft manufacturer Tecnam, its U.S. subsidiary Tecnam US, and launch customer Cape Air celebrated the recent delivery of the first Tecnam P2012 Traveller commuter aircraft on Monday at NBAA-2019. The piston twin, which received FAA type certification in August, is on display this week at the show (Static SD807).
Designed jointly by Tecnam and Massachusetts-based Cape Air specifically for the short-haul market, the P2012 Traveller features fixed landing gear, a 46-foot wingspan in high-wing configuration, two 345-hp Lycoming TEO-540-C1A piston engines, and seating for nine passengers and two pilots.
“Our operation is essentially solving acute transportation issues, connecting small communities to the major air transportation network,” said James Goddard, senior v-p of fleet planning and acquisitions at Cape Air. “We’re usually flying legs about 200 nautical miles or less, at lower altitudes and unpressurized.”
Cape Air currently operates a fleet of 88 Cessna 402s, four Britten-Norman Islanders and two Cessna Caravan EX floatplanes to conduct short-haul flights at city pairs across the U.S and between select Caribbean islands. Tecnam responded to Cape Air’s request for proposal in 2011 to build a new airplane to replace the carrier's aging Cessna 402 piston twins.
“We were looking for multi-engine safety,” said Goddard. “We wanted modern technology. The P2012 really breaks the mold with its clean-sheet design and opens up the platform for us.”
The resulting airplane has an 8,069-pound useful load, 198-gallon fuel capacity, 1,800-foot landing distance, and 174-knot cruise speed at 75 percent power. Its avionics suite is based on the Garmin G1000 NXi system with two 10-inch primary flight displays and a central 12-inch multifunction display. An electronic engine control (EEC) system precisely controls the electronic fuel injection and ignition of turbocharged six-cylinder engines for maximum efficiency.
“We’re proud to partner with Lycoming to bring piston technology into the 21st century,” said Tecnam US sales director Shannon Yeager. “This engine is critical to the Cape Air mission. The electronic engine control is the masterpiece of the design, providing an optimal fuel/air mixture and adjusting the timing of each cylinder to provide 375 horsepower per engine with a fuel burn under 20 gallons per hour per side.”
Unit cost of the P2012 Traveller is reportedly $2.7 million. In addition to the two P2012 Travellers already delivered, Cape Air already has placed firm orders for 20 Travellers and options for up to 92 more.