Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Twin-Engine Pistons Buyer's Guide 2014
Take your choice: a 600 hp luxury transport to a 200 hp multi-engine trainer
Introduced at Oshkosh five years ago by a company already famous in Europe for building a variety of single-engine LSAs, the P2006T is perhaps the ultimate entry-level twin. Sitting on the ramp, it resembles a miniature Aero Commander, with four seats and a pair of 100 hp Rotax engines. Gross weight is only 2,600 pounds, not that dissimilar to many singles with the same power. Perhaps surprisingly, despite what has to be a higher drag signature, the Tecnam twin manages to score 1,300 fpm climb and a 147-knot cruise. As we learned in 2009 when we flew the airplane for a pilot report, it's a comfortable twin with a gentle stall, docile single-engine manners and a friendly cockpit. A glass panel is optional. Price: $450,000 ($515,000 with glass panel).
Partenavia Aircraft of Naples, Italy, produced an interesting utility twin in the 1980s, the P68. Initially offered in turbocharged and normal mode, the airplane was/is a high wing with fixed gear ala Twin Otter, but with a pair of 180 hp Lycoming O-360s on the wings. Performance was adequate for the six-seater, but the novelty was a model that featured a transparent glass cockpit that offered a view straight down, straight up and to both sides, ideal for such missions as game spotting, pipeline or power line patrol, and law enforcement. Vulcanair purchased all assets of Partenavia when the latter company went bankrupt in 1996. Vulcanair upgraded engines to injected 200 hp Lycomings, and the resulting airplane scoots along at 160 knots with four folks aboard. There's also a retractable version, capable of adding an extra 15 knots to cruise. The Vulcanair's high wing is a semi-STOL airfoil, providing good short-field performance, about 1,200 feet to clear a 50-foot obstacle. Vulcanair's USA headquarters are in Washington, D.C, but there's an office in Sacramento, Calif. Prices: $946,400 (P68C); $964,600 (P68R); $1,001,000 (P68TC); $1,019,200 (P68OBS). Prices based on exchange rate of 1.00 Euro = $1.30.
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