Fourteen years ago, light aviation leader Tecnam brought their only low wing, the Sierra, to market. It went on to become one of their most popular airplanes …and that’s truly saying something since the Italian company has a broad line of beautiful airplanes.
On the 65th anniversary of this company founded in 1948, Tecnam brought their sparkling new Astore to the market (so named in honor of the very first aircraft the company offered). At its debut most thought Sierra had been replaced by Astore, perhaps never to be seen again. Happily, that is not the case.
An old line is: Nothing succeeds like success. Therefore, given the impressive run of Sierra the First, and even with the Astore, Sierra Mark 2 may be utterly logical. “The market is always demanding greater comfort and more features,” says Tecnam Managing Director, Paolo Pascale, “so improving and updating our product is a must.”
The Capua, Italy-based company announced, “Tecnam has introduced a substantially updated and improved Mark 2 version of the company’s popular P2002 Sierra.” The model name P2002 indicates the original design was created that year.
Tecnam observed, “P2002 Sierra MkII retains all the features and flying qualities which have established the aircraft’s position in the marketplace. However, the Mk2 model offers an improved cabin for greater comfort, top level avionics, new paint colors and interior options and a redesigned cowling for the 100-horsepower Rotax engine.”
Sierra Mk2’s cabin has been enlarged. A glance at the instrument panel or its snazzy sports car-quality seats displays the premium new interior design.
Led by their patriarchal and celebrated designer Luigi Pascale — this year’s winner of the LAMA Outstanding Individual Award — Tecnam engineers redesigned the canopy to provide more headroom. With the new canopy, a positive-locking mechanism assures reduced noise level.
Seats are not only handsome but now offer additional fore and aft adjustment to better accommodate folks of different sizes and shapes.
Beside a sleeker engine cowling Sierra Mk2 has several distinctive options for paint colors and interior fabrics. The new creations definitely upgrade the older design and will impress anyone you take aloft with you.
A few facts and specs are in order. Sierra offers a 600 nautical mile range thanks to 29 gallons, thanks to the good fuel economy of its Rotax 912 engine, burning 4.5 gallons per hour, noted Tecnam. Sierra Mk2 weighs 809 pounds empty, has a 514 pound useful load with 44 pounds of baggage. It can cruise at 120 knots, Tecnam advises while stalling at just 38 knots. It climbs at 800 fpm.
Professor Luigi like to use tapered laminar airfoils with slotted flaps and Sierra also has these advanced features. As with all Tecnams, the main airframe is metal, familiar to any repair shop anywhere in the world… a useful factor for a company that sells all over the globe.
To my eyes — and many others agree — one of the best aspects of the Sierra is its sliding canopy. You can slide this aft, at least partially, in flight and those of us who enjoy an open cockpit love this sensation in an otherwise very civilized environment. About this all-clear canopy Tecnam noted it offers, “full rollover protection, tested via inverted drop tests.
A glance at the panel shows the great advancements in instrumentation since Sierra was first offered, long before digital glass screens and devices like iPad (which, by the way, Astore neatly incorportated into its panel). You can choose from either Dynon SkyView or Garmin G3X, either of which is superb.
Finally, handling has always been a very strong area for the Tecnams I’ve flown (which has been all their LSA models). The company stated, “The horizontal stabilator tail design provides remarkable longitudinal hands-off stability along with minimum drag and weight penalty. This provides balanced two-finger flight control.”
The first model will be delivered to Tecnam U.S. in time for the 2017 Sebring Expo. The show runs January 25th-28th. Even if you can’t make that 13th annual event, I’ll be all over Sierra Mk 2.