Cape Air’s fleet of Tecnam P2012 Traveller aircraft is grounded. The “temporary and voluntary” measure comes as regulators on both sides of the Atlantic need to discus potential issues related to modifications of the elevator trim control system. The agencies are expected to meet as early as Tuesday.
Based on our desire to allow time for the Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency to have a dialogue regarding recent modifications, we have temporarily and voluntarily suspended operations with the Tecnam P2012 Traveller.– Kelly Collopy, public relations, Cape Air
The company is careful to note that the suspension of operations is “not due to a technical or mechanical issue.” The conversation between the FAA and EASA, however, is tied to changes to the mechanical operation of the aircraft.
This is not the first time Cape Air chose to halt operations while troubleshooting its aircraft. In 2007 the carrier grounded its (much larger) fleet of Cessna 402s after multiple in-flight engine failures. The company inspected the crankshaft counterweight across all the planes and returned them to service without the FAA mandating the work.
This week’s issues with the elevator trim is no the first trouble for the type. Cape Air is the launch customer for the P2012, with 100 on order to replace its aging Cessna 402 fleet. The first P2012 aircraft entered scheduled service in March 2020. That timing was several months later than initially planned, owing to software issues in the certification process.
The carrier also quietly halted operations of the Tecnam fleet from mid-July. It resumed those flights last week in Boston, St. Louis and Chicago. After a few of the planes flew for a few days, however, they are now grounded again.
The quiet groundings of the Tecnam stand in contrast to the very positive public face Cape Air has maintained regarding the aircraft as it works through the teething pains of being the first and only commercial operator of the type.
Company executives previously suggested that it is working with Tecnam “to make adjustments and improvements as needed.” The carrier further expects the P2012 Traveller will “continue to evolve to be an even greater aircraft in the months and years ahead.”
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