Tecnam Adds A New Engine-Choice Option For P2012 Buyers


Tecnam P2012 Traveller and Sentinel buyers may now choose between Brand “C” and Brand “L” for their engines. The company announced today (June 20) it is now making the popular fixed-gear, light twin available with a pair of turbocharged Continental GTSIO-520-S piston engines. The currently installed Lycoming TEO-540 C1A will continue to be available, as well. Both powerplants are rated at 375 horsepower.

The newly available Continental will be paired with constant-speed three-blade MT-Prop propellers, while the Lycoming will continue to drive its four-blade props from the same manufacturer. Both engines will also be available on Tecnam’s Sentinel special-missions variant of the P2012.

Francesco Sferra, P2012 sales and business development manager and experimental test pilot, said, “The GTSIO-520-S option widens the Traveller and Sentinel engine choice offering a traditional alternative for all those pilots and operators [who prefer] conventional throttles, propeller levers, and mixture controls for an intuitive and established piston engine feel.” 

“Adding an engine option such as the Continental 520 series,” said Giovanni Pascale, Tecnam’s managing director, “offers new opportunities to operators to tailor their P2012 fleet according to their peculiar heritage, missions and needs.” 

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. As aviation gasoline becomes more and more scarce , and totally unavailable in many parts of the world, one has to wonder why they are make a serious investment in piston aircraft vs turbine….

    • Because they are more interested in selling airplanes at a marketable price today. TNam could offer a Jet A driven “upgrade” to T-prop engines in the future when your million dollar baby is permanently grounded 2/2 100LL availability. Nothing but winning on this business plan.

    • Nice point. Each is a back-up for the other, incase of morning sickness on one side or burnt exhaust valves on the other!

  2. “offers new opportunities to operators to tailor their P2012 fleet according to their peculiar heritage, missions and needs.”

    One wonders what peculiar heritage, mission, and needs may be :-). How weird does one have to be to classify as peculiar…?

    • “Peculiar” is a proper term here, just not used in the USA in the same way. Here, a “scheme” is bad, in Great Britain, it’s just a plan.
      Tecnam wants to attract more puddle-jumping airlines; this bird was essentially built for Cape Air, to replace their old Cessnas.

  3. Continental engines rarely make it to TBO, especially when turbocharged. Lycoming engines generally make it to TBO. When would anyone choose a C over an L ??

    • A lot of my fellow well-over-TBO Continental owners are likely surprised to know that they are flying behind “rare” engines.

    • More Ford vs Chevy from the anecdata studies department?

      My anecdata shows the Continental 550 was much more reliable than Lycoming 360 in spite of being higher performance and having 50% more cylinders.

      Now that the ChiComs own Continental, who knows what will happen.

  4. Marc,
    That depends on what Lycoming engine you are talking about. My first airplane was a Commander 114 with a 260Hp IO-540. Went to 2600hr on lease back to a flight school for commercial training. Running well at 2600 hrs but did a OH because it was mid winter and utilization was low. I have been a MMOPA member for 23years and have flown behind a 1987 Continental powered TSIO-550 for 21 years. All 1989 and newer PA-46s have Lycoming turbocharged TIO-540 and they will never make TBO without a top OH (often two)just as turbocharged Continental engines will not make TBO without a mid time top OH. Bottom ends are relatively bullit proof on both. PA46s are pressurized and often flown in the flight levels where thin air puts stress a lot more thermal stress on the engines
    The one thing that is clear is the Continental engines are cheaper to maintain due to initial costs and replacement parts cost whern comparing similar engines as in the two mentioned above.
    The GTSIO-520 is geared engine so its crankshaft is turning much faster(as much as 3400 rpm) than the prop. Its the only engine Continental has to match the 375HP of the lycoming TEO-540 so its TBO is less than the Lycoming.
    Cape Air was the launch customer and has 100 Tecnam P2012’s on order and has taken delivery of a couple of dozen so far. They have not been very reliable so Cape Air is still flying their Cessna 402’s on routes where the Tecnams were deployed most of the time. The P2012 is not pressurized so it is flown at lower altitudes and power settings which should allow them to run cooler and exceed TBO.
    For their Continental powered 402’s Cape Air has a arrangement with the FAA where they have a engine TBO extension program approved because they operate as such low power settings.

    • How do you go past TBO on a flight school aircraft? Likewise a 135 aircraft can’t go past TBO.

  5. I have nothing against Continental engines, some of which can run close to Lycoming TBO times. What I don’t understand is why anyone would go with a geared engine. Those gearboxes can be fragile. Get some throttle jockey flying them and the gearboxes will get torn up fairly quick. I flew geared Lycomings in a twin Bonanza flying skydivers, had to be very gentle and slow with the throttles to keep the gearboxes from coming apart. Did that and kept RPM’s up to keep a positive load on the props. After 750hr and 3 years never had a gearbox fail.

  6. There are IMO 2 advantages to the GTSIO 520. One is the big props have lots of low speed thrust which probably will improve takeoff performance and the low prop RPM at cruise power makes the airplane quieter.

    The downside is the engine needs to handled carefully. The 421C that I used to fly was sold with 1480 hours on the engines and had all original cylinders, turbo’s and except for one tail pipe, all original exhaust system components. I feel these engines would have easily gone to 2000 hours.

    The 421 was in my opinion smoother and quieter than a King Air from a passenger view point.

    On the other hand another operator on the field flying a C421 replaced 3 engines in less than 2 years. If you handle this engine like a flight school 172, they are not going to last long.

  7. Anyone know what the differences are for the GTSIO 520S over earlier models? One thing I noticed is that according to the Continental data sheet on their web page, the dry weight appears to be 70 lbs heavier than a GTSIO 520H.

    I wonder what got beefed up ?