Tecnam: New Programs For Affordable Access
Like every other aircraft manufacturer, Tecnam has heard complaints about the high cost of new airplanes and its Tecnam North America arm has developed new programs to attack the problem. According to Tecnam North America's Phil Solomon, one new program would offer an affordable five-year lease on the company's basic-priced Echo Classic Light light sport aircraft. Solomon said the lease would be available "to pretty much anyone who wants it" for $15,000 down and $499 a month, plus $15 an hour for reserves. One unique feature of the lease for pilots 65 years or older, Solomon told us at Sun 'n Fun last week, is that should the lessee become incapacitated, the lease can be terminated instantly with no further liability.
Tecnam's second program is aimed at the opposite end of the market—pilots who have been trained in the U.S. or elsewhere and need a means of building hours as economically as possible. "The idea is basically to offer chunks of time building time, 100, 200 or maybe 300 hours at a very competitive rate, starting at $59 an hour dry, plus fuel," Solomon said. What's unique about this offering, he explains, is that for the period you book the airplane, you essentially own it and you can use it for long trips, daily flights or whatever you wish to fly off the time. "So you get six weeks when you're the person using that airplane," Solomon says. The block-time arrangement also uses the Echo Classic Light, a basic light sport that is nonetheless well equipped with a glass panel and ADS-B.
Solomon says Tecnam has heard from flight schools in a number of countries looking for some sort of hybrid arrangement involving basic training in the home country and additional training for time building in the U.S. "People love coming to the States because it's so easy to fly over here," Solomon told us.