Tecnam Unveils P-Mentor Trainer

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Tecnam officially introduced its new P-Mentor two-seat, low-wing single-engine piston aircraft on Wednesday. The IFR-capable P-Mentor, which is designed for the training market, received its EASA type certificate last week. According to the company, the aircraft is suited for private and instrument training along with upset prevention and recovery training (UPRT). Tecnam noted that the P-Mentor’s new wing design allowed it to pass the latest EASA CS-23 amendment requirements for low speed and stall characteristics without a ballistic recovery system (BRS), although BRS is approved and available as an option on the aircraft.

“We are delighted to present the P-Mentor today,” said Giovanni Pascale, Tecnam managing director. “I am sure this new design will revitalize the Trainer market, helping many flight schools to remain competitive and profitable and making new student pilots happier and more proficient. Real sustainability, fuel economy and profitability start here.”

The Tecnam P-Mentor is powered by the Rotax 912iSc engine and comes equipped with Garmin G3X flight displays. The aircraft offers a top cruise speed of 117 knots, 730-NM range and useful load of 290 kg (639 pounds). In addition, it is outfitted with a Garmin GI275 as a backup instrument and GFC 500 autopilot. An optional simulated retractable gear control is also available. The aircraft will be on display for the first time at AERO Friedrichshafen, which will run from April 27-30. Pricing has not yet been announced.

Video: Tecnam
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. No mention of price.
    But I’m sure it will be a worthy flight school competitor to re-furbished Cessna 150/152s and Piper Tomahawks.
    Perfect for an industry that seems no longer interested in the cost of primary flight training.

  2. Very appealing little plane and very intelligent engine choice.

    90% of flight school trainers are pretty well baked at this point and lack the pizzazz and ramp appeal that this plane brings to the table but of course the elephant in the room is price.

  3. Wait, wait! Where are the battery packs? Will it only run on biofuels? Where is all the promised eco progress?
    This is apparently a real world aircraft not just more whacked out ecocentric BS nonsense about the near future of aviation. Refreshing for a change. Hope they storm the market. However with the runaway Biden inflation it would be foolish to publish a price that would only increase by the week.

  4. In 52 years in the FBO business, I can’t understand the perceived advantage of a two-place airplane vs. a 4 place airplane.

    They are only marginally cheaper to purchase new. The cost of insurance is not that much difference–the biggest item is insuring 2 more seats. Hangar costs are the same. The cost of engine overhaul and airframe maintenance is about the same.

    Proponents of 2 place airplanes for training cite decreased fuel burn as a big reason. That argument was blown out of the water years ago–Cessna touted the 150 as “OUR airplane only burns 5.5 gph.” Piper responded with “If you only want to go the speed of a 150, THROTTLE BACK to “Instructional cruising speed”–the Cherokee 140 would go 100 mph and burn the same 5.5 gph.

    Air cooled gasoline powered piston engines have a specific fuel consumption of about .44 pounds of fuel per horsepower–so a 100 hp engine in a Cessna 150 @ 75% power=75 hp X .44–or 33 pounds per hour–divided by 6 pounds per gallon=5.5 gph. A 150 hp engine in a Skyhawk or Cherokee at 50% power will also burn 5.5 gph.–and turn out about the same speed.

    Most trainers aren’t interested in going fast. As Piper used to tell those who thought that a Cessna 150 was more economical that their own Cherokee 140–they said “If you only want to go 100 mph, THROTTLE BACK–fuel consumption is nearly the same.”

    Most FBOs caught on. The cost of the airplane, the maintenance, the engine reserve, the hangar were about the same–the cost of insuring the extra two seats was negligible. The four place airplane WAS a lot more versatile when it came to FBO operations–training, rental, etc. Sales of two place trainers all but died.

    There is a REASON that the 150/152, Tomahawk, Skipper, American Yankee, and other two-place trainers are no longer being produced. That isn’t to say they aren’t good airplanes–it’s just that they aren’t as versatile as the nearly identical 4 place versions–and any perceived cost savings just aren’t there.

    • Reply to Jim Hanson: That explains the C162 as well. However, the Tecnam P-Mentor being IFR/VFR with glass and A/P makes it easier to digest. Having flown for several decades during summer in the desert regions of Sweating California I would have to think twice before closing the cockpit’s lid. Other than that, I find the design acceptable for primary and instrument training. Also, most rental flights are by pilot and one other person. So I would think there is hope for the Mentor but at a prudent price.

    • Jim,
      Have you checked the insurance of a two place vs 4 place new model plane and equivalent 2 place new model plane? If you check anything against the 172 or Archer it breaks the comparison because those planes are virtually different markets.

      The insurance for a DA40 was about double that of a DA20 back when I was doing leasebacks. It mattered a lot, especially since the students were steered to the 172 fleet.

  5. Yes—I’ve been in the FBO business for 52 years—and operated well over 100 training type airplanes during that time. Yes, I’ve looked at the insurance costs. The cost of adding two seats is not that high—well offset by the increased utility of the more capable airplane—and the better residual value.

    Most FBOs have come to this realization—as have most manufacturers (as mentioned, Cessna, Piper, and Beech no longer produce 2 place trainers—if there really EAS a market, don’t you think they would serve it?

    Yes—foreign manufacturers have made occasional attempts to gain a toehold here—none have succeeded. Flight schools have occasionally tried foreign 2 place training airplanes—again—none have succeeded.

    Much as we would like to see a successful new product—the market won’t support it. It has been said “The ultimate in idiocy is doing the same thing over and over—and expecting different results.”

    Some guy named Einstein said it.

    • Jim,
      I’m sorry, but you sort of dodged my question. I think you are drawing a conclusion from data that might be telling you something different. I think your experience is likely telling you that for the way to go is the 172 or Piper 4 place variants.

      I might ask, if what you are saying is true, why not use a 182 for primary training?

      At any rate, when you get differences of 6 to 8k a year, do you think that’s insignificant?

      Finally, I had meetings with a few dozen FBO owners while selling planes, and it’s amazing the contradictions I heard, as well as the different variants of reasons that were basically versions of “Every change we try is worse than what we know in some way which we find unacceptable”.

  6. Lots great comment!

    Jim H., nice job articulating the practical view from FBO cost structure POV. I’d add people like 4 place trainers for the occasional 3rd person and easy placement of flight bags. I’m exactly the FAA average sized human and own a 182P. The 172 feels small, and 150/2’s are just too darn small.

    YARS was on point that none really cares about the cost of training the kids will just get heavy student loans attending the major flight schools.

    This new Tecnam plane will likely cost north of $350K usd. I priced a Bristell a couple of years ago in the 300’s. The P2010 is now almost $500K new. Acquaintance just bought one.

    Have to like Tecnam’s hutzpah and pace of design innovation. Wouldn’t be terrific if Cessna or Piper kept innovating?

    The P2010 IS the successor to the 172 Cessna should have made. When I first saw one, I actually thought it was a next gen piston Cessna. Silly me thinking Cessna can no longer clean sheet piston aircraft. They can’t even make a diesel 182 that stays in the air.

    Go Tecnam! Keep innovating.

    • Hey Jim, it likely has the GFC 500 so that it can meet the requirements of a TAA (technically advanced aircraft) which would allow it to handle commercial students. 14 CFR 61.129(j) requires “A two axis autopilot integrated with the navigation and heading guidance system.” to qualify as a TAA.