Tecnam P2006T is an Excellent Four-seat Light Twin aircraft
Italian technology is always extraordinary, their combination of engineering, enthusiasm, and craftsmanship is unmatchable, they don’t only do this with cars, but in many types of vehicles, including aviation, and the plane we are looking at today; the Tecnam P2006T is as Italian as it gets.
Work on the Tecnam P2006T started back in the early 2000s when Tecnam decided to build their first twin-engine aircraft. Speaking of design, the P2006T is a twin-engine high wing all-metal aircraft with, a single tail fin, and it is the lightest twin-engine certified aircraft available.
This airplane is beautiful, it is a good example of Italian excellence, it is so beautiful that most of its counterparts look uninspiring, more like tractors. It is not just beautiful for the sake of eye appeal; every inch of this sleek design contributes to its aerodynamic quality.
Despite its cute appearance, this airplane is not as delicate as it appears to be, in this era of composite construction, the P2006T’s airframe is predominantly metal, Tecnam did this to simplify maintenance and keep costs down, but still, the plane is not cheap anyway.
The wing of the aircraft is straight along the leading edge, but at the back, it narrows slightly towards the tip of the wing. Unlike other airplanes, the tail of the P2006T is not raised, and the fin is not particularly very large to compensate for that, it is not particularly a problem in itself, but during landing, the tail might disappear into the fuselage.
Despite its modest appearance, the landing gear is quite strong and it easily holds the plane both on concrete, and on the ground, I love that the landing gear is retractable, which is not only impressive but also significantly improves aerodynamics and make the plane very attractive in flight.
Compared with the Cessna 172 which seems to be quite small, is smaller in both dimensions by only 40 centimetres or 1.3 feet. Now you might be wondering why a plane this small needs two engines, because the fewer engines the better. I mean, what is a four-seater airplane with a maximum weight of about 1200 kilograms doing with twin engines?
The single-engine concept is successful; over 44,000 Cessna 172’s, 23,000 182’s, and 6,000 Cirrus SR22’s are proof of this. Speaking of this power plant, the Tecnam P2006T is powered by two 100 horsepower Rotax 912s3 engines, each equipped with a variable pitch two-blade propeller. 100 horsepowers are not enough to start with, but it is some kind of budget option, and it is in fact, one of the features that distinguish it from the others.
The Rotax 912 is a horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine with a displacement of approximately 1.2 liters. Compared to popular engines, it is very modest and low-powered.
In comparison with its colleagues from Lycoming and continental, the 912 is a rather young engine, and it is in several ways more technologically advanced, more fuel-efficient, and easier to manage. In comparison, many of its colleagues are dinosaurs.
Since Rotax designed this engine originally for low power, it means it is less complex, and it doesn’t include some of the reservations of modified and derated engines that were originally more powerful. As a result, the engine is light, weighing about 60 kilograms, quite cheap to buy and to maintain, and has a fuel consumption of only about 20 liters per hour.
The best thing is that this Rotax engine runs on ordinary gasoline from a gas station, which is much more affordable, cheaper, and easier to find, you won’t be facing the difficulty of plotting your routes only through airports that have Avgas, which is not particularly easy to find, especially in airports outside America.
In such a scenario over a long distance, it may turn out that two Rotax 912 could well compete with one classic aircraft engine. In addition, unification of systems from the manufacturer itself is added here, Tecnam has been familiar with Rotax for a long time, they know how to handle them, and the mass application can slightly reduce the cost.
When it comes to safety, twin-engine aircraft are in a class of their own, the plane can fly if one engine fails, but with the reservation of course. For the Tecnam P2006T, how long you can stay in the air on one engine heavily depends on how the plane is loaded, if the plane is lightly loaded, with just one pilot travelling with his little bag for the weekend, then it can continue to fly to the destination, but if the plane is fully loaded, with all four seats occupied and full fuel, it will still fly, but with a slight loss of altitude, which is not critical, and under normal conditions, the pilot will have more than enough time to find the nearest airport and land.
Using the Rotax 912s3, the P2006T has a speed of 145 knots, approximately 269 kilometers per hour, and a service ceiling of 4300 meters or 14,000 feet, and it can only climb at 1260 ft/min, which is not particularly bad for a plane the size of the P2006T, but at the same time, it is not too much for a twin.
Another thing is, Tecnam carefully designed this airplane, and seriously placed emphasis on aerodynamics and comfort, that’s why when you look at this plane, it will seem like two small Rotax engines won’t be enough to pull it off the ground, but it’s not all about the engine, the lightness and aerodynamics contribute a lot too.
Speaking of useful load, this plane is good for 618 pounds, which is typically enough for only three passengers and full fuel, and under such conditions, the range reaches 1374 kilometers or 853 miles, and the flight duration jumps over four hours. But the maximum payload is 906 pounds for passengers and luggage, which is decent, but you can’t carry full fuel if you fill up the seats, which also limits how far you can fly nonstop.
The combination of these advantages and disadvantages makes the Tecnam P2006T, an excellent cross-country airplane, a good first twin-engine plane, and a trainer. It is not very demanding in terms of flight performance despite being a full-fledged twin-engine aircraft, with a very modest cost, at least for fuel. Speaking of the Cabin, the Tecnam P2006T is a four-seater aircraft; two seats in two rows, and there are two doors on each side to access the cabin. For sitting on the front row. There is one door on the left side, but if you want to sit at the back; you have to walk around the plane to access the door on the right.
The cabin is surprisingly spacious and comfortable, and it looks great too. Visibility is great, the absence of an engine and a buzzing propeller on the nose makes the front view even prettier and more elegant.
The onboard equipment is hybrid, it combines a couple of analogue instruments for critical systems and a glass cockpit. The glass here is part of the Garmin G950, which has a high degree of automation of onboard systems controls, including a full-fledged autopilot.
Functionally, this avionics is already a serious machine, capable, quite easy and comfortable to work, and an excellent option. In addition, the G1000 NXI will soon be available for this plane, and this will take the P2006T to a whole new level.
The aircraft’s capabilities and relative versatility allowed Tecnam to make several modifications fairly quickly; The P2006T is a standard civilian version, then there is the T2006A, which is a training version; specially modified to meet the requirements of the Italian Air Force.
The P2006MRI and MMA versions are modified to push for more than five hours of flying, especially for naval patrols, and to engage in a variety of work in the sky, such as aerial photography. Then there is another one Tecnam offers as a universal platform, which is the P2006SMP; special missions platform, which can do all kinds of work and can be modified into anything the platform can carry.
Well, you might be wondering what the drawbacks of this plane are, because every plane of course has areas they don’t shine, especially in comparison to other planes in their class.
The drawbacks of this plane, however, have nothing to do with flight performance and engineering. The Tecnam P2006T is pretty expensive, European airplanes, in general, are not known to be especially cheap anyways, but $650,000 is a lot of money, I will rather go for the Diamond DA42 which on its own and with many other twin engines are more expensive, but the P2006T is not their direct competitor and the secondary market is even more contrasting, and this affects its position in the American market, where the decent cost of the aircraft is added by import duties, while the price tag of local competitors is released of this burden.