Aero Friedrichshafen continues, delivering a broad preview of new aircraft projects plus a glimpse into light aviation in Europe. New ideas run from the fascinating to the futuristic. Some will never make it market but they can contribute ideas to be used on other designs, enhancing overall progress. How does Europe do so much of this? Government funding often comes up in discussions with developers; this is extremely rare in the USA. Attending more than 20 Aeros, I’ve found new ideas every time. Indeed, I usually run out of time before I can get to hear every story. Aero never fails to deliver. Tecnam P92 Mk II — Speaking of progress never stopping, how about Italian juggernaut, Tecnam? Their large space included their sweeping flock of high wing and low wing sport planes, certified four seaters, military projects, their popular Twin multiengine four seater; the company even showed their 11-seat Traveller regional airliner.
Tecnam (in USA)
Tallying Tecnam's SuccessTecnam can claim more than 6,500 aircraft flying worldwide. The majority of this fleet are European-style ultralights and Light-Sport Aircraft. Of this large number of aircraft flying the P92 model counts for close to half the total. While the company has branched out to larger aircraft and specialty aircraft, they continue to develop and build aircraft that recreational pilots enjoy.
Hybrid Tecnam with Rotax and SiemensTecnam is a big buyer of Rotax engines as well as Lycomings but they are exploring hybrid electric propulsion as well and they are doing so in collaboration with some leading brands in the game.
In mid-May 2018, Tecnam announced a program the name of which only an engineer could love: H3PS (an acronym for “High Power High Scalability Aircraft Hybrid Powertrain”). The kick-off meeting took place in Capua (Italy), at Tecnam headquarters because the airframe maker is coordinating the project.R&D departments from Tecnam, Rotax, and Siemens are joining their experience to present an alternative propulsion system that they say "will dramatically reduce environmental impact of today’s General Aviation four seat aircraft."
Dual Approvals Down UnderTecnam announced recently that the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand validated Tecnam’s four seat P2010 based on the company’s EASA type certificate using the 215 horsepower version of the Lycoming IO-390 engine. Tecnam is one of handful of manufacturers able and capable to produce Type Certified aircraft using both metal and composite components. P2010 employs an all-carbon-fiber fuselage with metal wings and stabilator. To serve down-under customers, Tecnam established a corporate presence in Australia last fall, mimicking the effort made in the company’s Sebring, Florida operation to support U.S. sales and service. Active globally, Tecnam is also pursuing other markets for their Light-Sport Aircraft, or in Canada's description, Advanced Ultralights. Here's our article on the company success with America's northern neighbor. Tecnam models are sold and serviced in more than 65 countries.
Picture PlatformTecnam also recently announced EASA and FAA certification approval for the Leica CityMapper installation on the P2006T SMP. The Leica CityMapper is specifically designed for 3D city modelling and urban mapping. It is the world’s first hybrid airborne sensor combining both oblique and nadir imaging as well as a LiDAR system. Tecnam has a large staff to accomplish these diverse projects while building as many as four aircraft a week. Even with many employees, however, this is a impressive penetration of all aviation's nooks and crannies.
The big Italian company that LSA enthusiasts know very well through models such as P92, Sierra, and P2008 has a large and growing presence in global aviation. Their developments are broad and delve into aviation segments large and small. They are also getting ready to celebrate a benchmark birthday. This year Tecnam Costruzioni Aeronautiche — most pilots simply say “Tecnam” — will celebrate its 70th birthday. Born in 1948, the company has changed names but the Pascale brothers kicked off their flying enterprise with the original Astore in 1948. If you are a Tecnam fan, you probably recognize Astore as one of their newest LSA models. Here’s our video with Tecnam boss Paolo Pascale celebrating what was then their 65th birthday, which they honored by releasing their most luxurious LSA so far …naming it after the brothers’ first airplane. Paolo is the current director of Tecnam but he follows in the shoes of one of the founding brothers, “Uncle Luigi” (Professor Luigi “Gino” Pascale).
We say a sad and final farewell to Professor Luigi "Gino" Pascale.
While it is somewhat melancholy to bid farewell to this man of short stature but giant achievements, he did what he loved for seven decades and until very near the time of his death. None of us can ask for much more than that.
Luigi is also succeeded by family members who continue to run and expand the operation he began with his brother Giovanni so many years ago. Officially he was chief preliminary design officer of Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam but Tecnam team members remember him fondly as the heart and soul of Tecnam. He was 93 at his passing.
Professor Luigi — as I heard several Tecnam employees refer to him — got his start in aviation designing model airplanes way back in the 1930s. His brother Giovanni and he were passionate about flight and never stopped pursuing the dream.
The Pascale brothers began work on their first full-sized airplane in 1948. They called it the P48 Astore. On the 65th anniversary of that modest beginning, the now-giant of light aviation called Tecnam, unveiled a brand new version of Astore (reported here). Of course, Professor Luigi had a great deal to do with this one as he did with the first. Subsequently all Tecnam designs have the designation P##, with the numbers representing the year the design was started.That original Astore first flew in 1951 after Luigi earned his pilot's license. In university, he achieved a Master's Degree in mechanical engineering, reinforcing an obvious aptitude for aircraft design.
Perhaps his most famous design — at least prior to the Light-Sport Aircraft of more recent years — was the Partenavia, a sleek twin-engine general aviation airplane started in 1957. Before that he and his brother created numerous race planes. Sport and recreational flying never left his mind and Sport Pilots today benefit from his tireless work. Indeed, the original company and the one we know today as Tecnam has produced and sold more than 7,000 aircraft, the company reported.
Perhaps his major success — from a number produced standpoint — is his P92, a two-seat metal airplane that has been delivered in several variations. This wonderful light aircraft remains the company's most popular design. After 25 years of service, more than 2,500 are flying in many, many countries around the planet.
While no one knows for sure, it would not be too much of a stretch to say P92 is the most successful Light-Sport Aircraft ever built (though not all models precisely meet the LSA description). That many airplanes flown an uncounted number of hours have delivered many smiles to many pilots regardless of the language they speak.Professor Luigi's final design, the 11-seat P2012 Traveller, is currently going through flight testing. I never heard if he did the flying for this one, but his nephew, Paolo Pascale, who now leads the Tecnam organization, once told me, "Not only does Uncle Luigi design these aircraft, he also test flies them." Amazing!
"Luigi was incredibly proud of Tecnam and all of its employees, and we will all miss him greatly," said Paolo Pascale, who these days is Tecnam's CEO. "His drive to excellence, determination, can-do spirit and commitment to our company will inspire and stay with us always."
Luigi accomplished much and his family of both relatives and company team members have much to be proud of and the pilots who continue to fly his design join with the family in bidding a fond farewell to the talented gentleman from Italy.
See Professor Luigi's heartfelt appreciation when he won the LAMA President's Award for 2016. It is clear he loved aviation and those who loved it with him:
We lost one of the good ones recently. You may not have met or even know this man, but you certainly know — and may absolutely love — the airplanes he created. We say a sad and final farewell to Professor Luigi “Gino” Pascale. While it is somewhat melancholy to bid farewell to this man of short stature but giant achievements, he did what he loved for seven decades and until very near the time of his death. None of us can ask for much more than that. Luigi is also succeeded by family members who continue to run and expand the operation he began with his brother Giovanni so many years ago. Officially he was chief preliminary design officer of Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam but Tecnam team members remember him fondly as the heart and soul of Tecnam. He was 93 at his passing. Professor Luigi — as I heard several Tecnam employees refer to him — got his start in aviation designing model airplanes way back in the 1930s.