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The venerable BN2 re-invented?

Came across this

http://www.tecnam.com/en-GB/aircrafts/New-Models/P2012-Traveller.aspx

while searching the www for something else… Almost like if the P2006 was only a first try at a twin, and this is their next step up. It is good to see a new design appearing on the market, I can only hope there is sufficient demand for it. If there is, it is another blame for Cessna/Piper to not have satisfied it. But I think they’ll have a hard time to match the 1200+ production of the Islander.

Comparing the specs/figures to those of the BN2, this machine has a good deal more power, is correspondingly faster, but offers slightly less payload.

EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

The P2012 Traveler is designed to specification from Cape Air, a US airline that currently operates old Cessna 402/404s. It must be a relatively unique position for any small aircraft manufacturer to have a launch customer in this fashion.

Although Tecnam may be new to the twin market, the people behind are not. Tecnam stems from Partenavia (now Vulcanair) so there’s plenty of knowledge in house. I would be tempted to say they’ve drawn most of their inspiration from the P68/Aviator and possbily the SF600 designed by Stelio Frati, rather than the BN2, but they do meet similar markets.

I sat in the mock up at AERO when it was launched, nice and airy cabin, but who knows what it’ll be like in the end. I argued they should stick RR turbines on it rather than the Lycosaurus, but for the operation Cape Air are doing they want pistons. Many cycles and short flights. IIRC the engines are “brand new” 350 hp Lycs with FADEC and Mogas capability.

ESSB, Stockholm Bromma

> Many cycles and short flights. IIRC the engines are “brand new” 350 hp Lycs with FADEC and Mogas capability.

I imagine there should be a market for this kind of a/c. A lot flying in Africa and other less developed parts of the world fits the description above and turbines aren’t necessarily viable there. What’s missing from the spec sheet is the single-engine ceiling. This is really low (IIRC 7000ft) in the P2006.

This is not really my cup of tea, but, where I agree there must be quite some interest for this category of plane from the (ahum) less-developed world, I suspect the Italians of making their design insufficiently rugged for the type of airfields round there. And indeed if the prime usage is short trips between well-developed airports it might be well suited. Only I wonder about the importance of the higher speed for such short trips. Can’t help thinking I’d have preferred payload over speed, given the mission profile, probably resulting in a slightly thicker wing – but of course that is speaking from the luxurious position of an armchair www expert…

And yes, the factory leaflet announces the possibility to run on MoGas – a bit strangely, as this should not be a relevant point for the launch customer, or for the prime type of operation.

EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

> And yes, the factory leaflet announces the possibility to run on MoGas – a bit strangely, as this should not be a relevant point for the launch customer, or for the prime type of operation.

No, but this is – IF it’s sturdy enough! – the classic Third World people/chicken/freight/whatever hauler. And there’s not an awful lot of Avgas in them thar faraway places. They could really be on to something here. But, as you rightly say, only if it’s built like a brick house and has a decent single-engine ceiling.

I would agree that the Tecnams and perhaps other italian designs have an aura of flimsiness about them, however, the P68 from my experience is rather well engineered and built, and was designed by the same person. If that matters.

I hope that Tecnam are capable of adapting their design to the job at hand. The microlights, ultralights and VLA aircraft they’ve built so far are somewhat delicate designs, probably out of necessity. The P2006T is nothing short of remarkable taking in account that it’s an all-alu twin-engine four-seater weighing in at just over 800 kg. And CS-23 certified.

With regards to turbines I believe the RR250 B17F would be the perfect match of power and economy. I would have guessed that this was the preferred choice for most of the world in fact, with better fuel availability. Not sure about the RR, but the PT6 I used to operate was certified to use any fuel for limited periods, Jet or 100LL. I think it would run on peanut butter if required…

ESSB, Stockholm Bromma

> With regards to turbines I believe the RR250 B17F would be the perfect match of power and economy. I would have guessed that this was the preferred choice for most of the world in fact, with better fuel availability.

I think the issue here is cycles. A lot of flying in, say, Africa is done over relatively short distances, but then the engine is shut down for a while. You also have the FOD ingestion issue on unmade strips. Pilatus seem to be going for the upper end of that market with their new jet, but other than the wonderful Twotter, there really isn’t anything lower down. Certainly nothing that can run on Mogas as well.

> Pilatus seem to be going for the upper end of that market with their new jet, but other than the wonderful Twotter, there really isn’t anything lower down.

Really? How about the Cessna Caravan? I know several pilots who operate/operated Caravans in Africa, seems rather popular. If you look at the design of the intake on the Caravan it becomes apparent that it was built for exactly that type of mission, in the bush. I suspect the 100LL approval has to do with bush operations as well.

In fact, the information I have suggests that the Caravan was designed largely by ex De Havilland engineers who didn’t succeed with convincing their company to develop a replacement for the Beavers and Otters. It was only later that FedEx took notice and bought hundreds and now it must count as one of Cessna’s most successful designs. Great airplane.

Here’s a neat little video of a Partenavia/Vulcanair operating in Madagaskar: [P68 A-viator](http://www.vulcanair.com.au/movie/a-viator.html)

ESSB, Stockholm Bromma

Besides Twotter and Caravan, current turboprop offerings in this class include Pilatus PC-12, Dornier Do228NG, Let L 410, PZL M28 and others.

LKBU near Prague, Czech Republic

> Really? How about the Cessna Caravan? I know several pilots who operate/operated Caravans in Africa, seems rather popular

From what I can tell, they do have their issues. C208 weren’t designed for bush flying, rather for tarmac strips in the US. Seems they are rather considered the least bad solution. A PC12 is great – but waaaaayyy out of the league of heavy duty African ops. The L 410 is there, of course. As are the various Antonovs. And CASAs. I think IF – and again, that’s a big IF – Tecnam manage to produce a rugged a/c that can be serviced in the bush and fly on Avgas and Mogas then they may have hit pay dirt.

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