Daher-Socata announced yesterday at the Paris Air Show that the French DGAC has awarded Rennes, France-based charter operator VolDirect the go-ahead to conduct single-engine IFR (SEIFR) commercial flights in its TBM 850. This is the first time an air charter company has been approved to carry passengers on SEIFR commercial flights in Europe.
Full EASA certification for single-engine IFR passenger operations remains the goal, but for now this approval allows VolDirect, and potentially other TBM 850 operators, at least to fly in instrument meteorological conditions anywhere in Europe, as long as the trip begins and ends in France, with the same passengers on the return leg.
According to Daher-Socata, the DGAC approval is the result of “combined efforts involving the operator, the aircraft manufacturer and the OSAC French civil aviation inspection authority after VolDirect demonstrated a safety level equivalent or superior in all fields of operations and as mandatory to any airline in Europe.” The high reliability of the TBM 850’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 engine, which has accumulated more than 350 million flight hours, also facilitated this approval.
In the meantime, EASA is currently working on developing its rules to add this type of operation, the aircraft manufacturer said. SEIFR commercial flights with passengers are already allowed in Canada and the U.S.