Daher-Socata (Booth 6540) has already delivered 12 examples of the new TBM 900 turboprop single and is planning on handing over another 39 this year. Four production slots are still available in 2014 for the $3.711 million per aircraft, CEO Stéphane Mayer said at an EBACE press conference on Monday.
As of May 16, 11 aircraft had been delivered in North America and one in Europe. A handful are to enter into service in 2014 in other regions. North America maintains a dominant position in Daher-Socata’s order book, while the Asian market remains very slow.
China, which large-cabin business jet manufacturers see as a booming market, is not ready yet for turboprop singles, Mayer claimed. He cited a lack of infrastructure as well as strict rules governing airspace and airport access. Moreover, China still lacks potential owner-pilots, which would have been grown in an aviation culture, he explained.
Nicolas Chabbert, the senior vice president of the company’s airplane business unit, gave an insight into the design of the newest evolution in the TBM product. As the early TBM 700 was designed with little help from computers 25 years ego, a digital model had to be created, he explained, and it was validated with test flights. Such a model allowed thorough aerodynamic analysis. For example, it helped engineers streamline the exhaust airflow with redesigned stacks and improve the design for the air inlet, as well as to add a small aerodynamic strake to the forward lower fuselage that aids in stability at high angles of attack.
A full TBM 900 pilot report will appear in AIN’s July edition, following AIN senior editor Matt Thurber’s flight in the aircraft just before EBACE. o