With a new year comes the chance for new aircraft to enter the market and for Italian-based Tecnam Aerospace the planned delivery of their newest propeller aircraft, the P2012 Traveller, is going forward as scheduled. The aerospace builder received the European Aviation Safety Administration’s approval for use of the P2012 on Dec. 20, 2018 and Tecnam expecting the design to meet Federal Aviation Administration requirements before the planned launch in 2019.
The aircraft is expected to have 22 deliveries before the end of the year, with Cape Air of Massachusetts seeing 20 frames delivered while Zil Air will take the other two. Cape Air will be the launch customer and has ordered 100 of the Italian aircraft, using it to replace their ageing fleet of Cessna 402s.
The P2012 Traveller was originally designed in 2015 with the purpose of being a small nine-seat aircraft that could compete or replace similar models like the Cessna 402 or Brittan-Norman BN-2 Islanders. The design comes with a high wing and two wing mounted 375 horsepower 6-cylinder Lycoming TEO-540-C1A engines.
The P2012 can operate with a maximum takeoff weight at just below 8,000 pounds and can fly as far as 900 nautical miles. The aircraft will be rear loading, with the main cabin door located at the rear of the fuselage but the pilot will also have their own door at the front for safety concerns, specifically the ease of evacuation in an emergency.
The P2012 started flight testing in July 2016 and since then has clocked 600 hours across two test airframes in the Tecnam home city of Capua. While most aircraft have to certify for FAR Part 25 and similar EASA Part 25 regulations, the small seat count and less than 12,500 lbs takeoff weight means the Traveller only has to meet FAR Part 23 standards and has already passed EASA Part 23 regulations for normal aircraft.
For Tecnam, the P2012 marks the start of the company branching out into more commercial and larger designs. The Italian company started as a parts supplier back in 1986 but branched out into the two to four-seat general aviation category and has seen some hits and misses for aircraft designs over the years. The aircraft builder’s best-selling aircraft, the P92 and P2006T are still in production for the company. Following the design and certification of the P2012 Traveller, the Capua-based team will now turn to working on the P-Jet Evaluation Programme in hopes of creating the first turbofan driven aircraft for the company.