Tecnam P2006T By Wilco Publishing
A review by Gene Davis
With all of the different aircraft available for Flight Simulator it is sometimes difficult to pick and choose which one will best suit your individual flying mood. I am strange, I go through long periods of time where I will fly nothing but jet liners and then all of a sudden change to a General Aviation plane or even a military jet of some kind but the list is long and there is always an aircraft that will definitely suit your mood.
The decision never comes easily and I usually sit and stare at the aircraft selection screen waiting for that light to go off in my head that says "that's the one!" I have a list of favorite aircraft, but I am always looking for something totally different, something so different that it brings on hours of flying time.
Wilco Publishing is known mostly for its wide array of jets but they have recently released the Tecnam P2006T and when I saw the Tecnam's unique design I decided that I must have and it was with much anticipation that I took to the skies with her for the first time!
The Real Tecnam P2006T
The Tecnam P2006T is a high winged twin engine all metal aircraft that was built by Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam at its home base in Capua, Italy. The aircraft itself was designed and built by Luigi Pascale and had its first flight in 2007. Actual introduction of the aircraft to civilian buyers didn't happen in Europe until 2010 and 2011 in the United States.
The aircraft is billed as a short takeoff and landing type of plane and features 2 Rotax 912S3 four cylinder geared piston engines with 98.6 hp from each engines. The Tecnam has room for 3 passengers and one pilot plus cargo but cannot exceed 618 pounds total weight. The aircraft has a cruising speed of 155 MPH, a stall speed of 54 MPH and a service ceiling of 14,000 feet.
According to the information I could find there are only two different variants currently used worldwide, the first being the P2006T (Civilian Version) and the P2006T MRI (Military Variant). The military version, not included in this package, is currently being considered by the Chilean Navy to replace their aging Cessna O-2 Skymaster planes but as of this writing I can find no further information on that.
Purchase, Installation and Activation
The Tecnam can be purchased from just about any reputable online store that offers Flight Simulator related aircraft. The Tecnam retails for a reasonable $21.73 on the Wilco store site and though prices may vary depending on which site you use it shouldn't be much more than that. The aircraft is available for FSX, P3D 1.4 and P3D 2.0.
For the sake of this article I received my copy of the Tecnam from the Wilco Store: http://www.wilcopub.com/simulator-add-on/tecnam-p2006t-fsx-p3d.html
Once purchased, I was given a link to download the aircraft; and provided a key that needs to be entered during the install process. One thing to note that when you purchase the aircraft the download link is not provided on the order receipt, but is accessible in your account through the Dash Board under My Downloadable Products and the key is accessible through the My Serial Numbers of the Dash Board as well.
It is also important to note to you make sure that you have the latest version of the Tecnam, current release is 1.3 and most installers should all be updated by the time you read this, but you still may want to check while installing it to make sure you have the latest version.
There are a total of 3 installers, one being for FSX, one for P3D 1.4 and a third for P3D 2.0 and from what I gather there some pretty significant differences between the P3D 2.0 version and that of the FSX version so make sure you are downloading the correct one for whatever simulation you are using.
A complete set of Manuals for the Tecnam are also provided via the All Programs/ Wilco Publishing/ Tecnam. In total there are 17 different manuals that cover everything ranging from the aircraft itself, to the different navigation equipment and other equipment that is onboard the aircraft. There is also a range of checklists and operational charts available within FSX and the Kneepad.
The Wilco Tecnam P2006T For FSX
The Tecnam for FSX is unique in that it is an aircraft that hasn't been done before in Flight Simulator as it features a high wing design and a sleek looking fuselage along twin engine operation. The P2006T is part of Wilco's HiFi Simulation line of add-ons and features a complex exterior model with a rather impressive flight model, detailed interior and exterior with lots of moving parts.
The P2006T comes with 11 different liveries, all with European markings, and each features high resolution textures throughout the entire model giving the entire aircraft an ultra-realistic look in FSX and P3D. The lighting and shadowing is also nicely done and from what I have seen in screenshots from P3D 2.0 the Tecnam does take full advantage of the new features in that simulation, such as cockpit shadowing and other new lighting elements.
Doors and hatches are animated, but what I really like about the Tecnam is that you can remove the engine cowling and have a look at the port side engine and you can actually the see the emergency oil pressure gauge, working, from both inside and outside the aircraft. I was surprised that the doors are only accessible by using the Shift+E commands and not functional from inside the cockpit, what I also found interesting is that due to the safety features built into the Tecnam you cannot open the certain doors while in flight or when the engine is running.
The Tecnam uses high res reflective and chrome textures that really do bring each of the different planes to life in Flight Simulator, this along with fully animated pilot and passenger along with a slew of safety static features, that are displayed when the aircraft is parked, makes the Tecnam a lot of fun to watch in Flight Simulator.
Recently added to the Tecnam add-on are two new features called Accu-glow and Accu-glide. The Accu-glow feature adds enhanced night lighting to the aircraft while flying at night, the lighting from the interior and exterior of the plane actually affects how the plane is viewed.
The Accu-glide feature creates ultra-smooth responsiveness in the way each of the individual gauges work, thus creating a very realistic and working appearance in FSX without a cost in frame rates. In my opinion these two features really bring out the best in the Tecnam and it has made it one of my favorites when doing a flight in Flight Simulator.
The soundset for the P2006T is adequate both inside and out and is billed as the actual sounds from the real Tecnam. I have never heard the real Tecnam so I really have nothing to compare them to but I would have liked more because this soundset just doesn't really grab me and pull me in.
The Cockpit of the Tecnam
Climbing into the cockpit of the Tecnam will be a familiar one as it is set up with mostly analog gauges along with a full set of navigational equipment. Each individual gauge has been intricately designed and features Accu Glide which creates an almost ultra-realistic look and feel to each individual gauge.
Tied into the cockpit is a full array of navigational equipment and it can all be accessed from the pilots point of view with the click of the mouse. The Tecnam includes the GMA340, GNS430, GTX328, KR87, M800 Davtron, GMA 340, GNC255 and the SL30. The NAV instruments and VOR radios are all tied into the GPS and are manipulated through the GPS and its main display. Com 1 radio is also accessed through the GPS, but there is also a secondary Com 2 radio that can be used independently of the GPS if necessary. This along with the GNS 340 makes these systems switchable when in flight, other functions like DME, NAV1 &2, and ADF are also selectable via the GNS 340.
The center panel from top to bottom is made up of the S-TEC display, the Garmin GNS430, SL30, KR87, GTX328, Garmin Com Radio, and the GMA 340 with switches for the avionics and bus controls just below that. The pilot’s side of the aircraft, or left hand side of the panel is made up of your standard display gauges along with Nav, VOR, OBS, ADF, Altimeter, Speed etc along with n1 and n2 read out display. On the right side of the panel you can view your engine gauges, altitude, Horizon, Fuel and battery information along with several others.
The cockpit itself is incredibly workable and doesn't require the pilot to really take his or her eyes off the horizon to look at any one set of instruments, controls, battery switches and light switches are all within view and are easily accessible. Gauge movement is totally fluid and with the Accu-Glide features makes this cockpit one of my personal favorites.
Flying the P2006T Tecnam
I had a unique opportunity to fly this aircraft with my Brother, who is an accomplished pilot, and has been flying for years. The one thing we found is that nothing in Flight Simulator ever works like it does in real life, or so he says. The expectations are what they are, but being a program like Flight Simulator you can only expect so much at least that is what I think.
That aside we able to do some IFR flying out of Yakima, WA and into the Dalles Airport in the Columbia River Gorge. We both felt that the aircraft handled extremely well and that it had a believable flight model given the conditions of our flight and the weight of the aircraft. That reminds me, it's is important to makes sure you adjust the fuel, passenger, and cargo weights before flying because by default the plane is overloaded and the plane actually responds to the extra weight.
We tested the STOL functions several times and found that you really had to slow the aircraft down to get it to stall and we were able to put it down on some pretty small airstrips in eastern Oregon with little or no trouble. According to real world specs the Tecnam has a stall speed of 54MPH and we were actually able to keep the aircraft in the air at and just below 60MPH.
We found that the aircraft has a rather unique flight model and it is one of the things that makes a pretty darn good add-on. As we were descending into the Columbia River Gorge for our approach into KDLS, using real world weather, a gust of wind caught the aircraft from behind and pushed us off our approach and closer to the ground. Regaining control and then initiating a go around we set up for a new approach, this time into the wind, and was actually able to bring the Tecnam in at about 65MPH with flaps fully extended, the noise high and without stalling.
All of the Navigation instruments worked as they should and we followed the our flight plan to the tee with the exception of our first landing attempt. The aircraft was stable in flight and everything was easy to access, read and understand from within the cockpit. The one thing you do need to know though is that when you are adjusting the GPS it uses a different input system then the one in FSX, you actually have to turn the knobs and select using the GPS and not the keyboard like you would in the real aircraft.
I spent quite a bit of time flying from KONP to KAST or Coos Bay on the Oregon Coast trying it out in bad weather conditions using real world weather and I was impressed at how stable the airplane actually was in bad conditions. Each time I flew a VOR to VOR flight plan and landed in ILS conditions when landing in Astoria or Newport and I was impressed how accurate the instrumentation actually was when flying said approaches.
By now you all probably figure that there isn't much that I don't like and realistically there isn't much that I don't but occasionally there are some that I don't but this one I do! Wilco Publishing has delivered a wonderful GA Twin Engine aircraft that is nicely detailed and the price is right! Selling for right around 20 bucks the Tecnam can be yours and quite honestly it's well worth the money as it has earned a permanent place in my virtual hanger!