Tecnam has seen the future of general aviation, and it’s the automobile. Nothing unusual or wrong with that—most OEMs have embraced the concept of replicating the “automotive experience,” seeking to meet customers’ raised standards for fit and finish, and deliver the level of comfort and style one would expect when plunking down the cash equivalent of a super premium luxury car for an airplane.
But more than a route to attracting pilots, Tecnam sees this as the path to salvaging the industry. “If we’re going to try to get new people into aviation, we need pilots to have people to fly with them—otherwise, they stop flying,” said Shannon Yeager, Tecnam’s U.S. sales director. “And to get people to go flying, this”—he nodded toward the airplane in front of us—“needs to be as close to the automotive experience as possible.”