January 5, 2012
By Jim Moore
Italian aircraft manufacturer Tecnam has added amphibious floats to its light sport aircraft, and company officials say this week’s announcement has stirred plenty of interest in advance of the first U.S. deliveries.
Phil Solomon, CEO of Tecnam North America, said the P92 Sea-Sky Hydroplane amphibious LSA will make U.S. landfall in time for Sun ‘n Fun in March, with special pricing offered to early adopters on first-come, first-served basis. The company also will offer retrofit kits for the P92 Eaglet and Echo Classic models.
In testing, the float-equipped 100-horsepower Echo Classic was able to take off in 660 feet, and it will sell for $159,900, including an avionics package that features the Garmin SL40, Garmin GTX 327, Garmin Aera 500 GPS, PM3000 intercom, speakers, ELT, and the Trutrak Gemini PFD to provide full six pack capability.
The Eaglet version, which has a roomier interior and heavier weight, will sell for $12,000 more, Solomon said, sacrificing some performance in favor of creature comforts. Solomon said the Echo Classic’s interior compares favorably with competing models from other manufacturers, including the Cessna Skycatcher.
The carbon fiber floats are reinforced for safe landings on paved or grass surfaces with the four-wheel landing gear retracted, and the marine rudder control cables are contained within the structure. The floats are designed with seven inspection access panels, and a baggage compartment that can store small items. The marine rudders and other metal parts are all anodized, and coated with Corrosion X protection. The retrofit kit also includes modifications for the engine cowling to prevent water ingestion, and will cost $35,000 excluding installation labor, shipping, and a sea propeller.
Final aircraft weight and other technical data is not yet available, Solomon said, with additional details to be released in time for the Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo Jan. 19 through 22.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
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