Daher-Socata’s new TBM 900 is making its public debut this week at the 2014 Sun ’n’ Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla., less than three weeks after the upgraded turboprop single was unveiled in Tarbes, France. Based on its speed and efficiency improvements over its TBM 850 predecessor, the $3.7 million TBM 900 has attracted “significant attention among pilots, owners and operators,” Daher-Socata said.
To date, the company has total orders for 44 of its new airplanes on the books and has delivered six of these to customers in the U.S. Daher-Socata plans to ship 50 TBM 900s this year, up from the 40 TBM 850s it delivered last year.
“With its large public attendance, Sun ’n’ Fun offers us the opportunity to share the fruit of three years of intensive work in the fields of market surveys, engineering and manufacturing,” said Daher-Socata president and CEO Stéphane Mayer. “We are proud to introduce the TBM 900 to the market,” he added. Mayer is rated on the TBM 900 and came to Sun ’n’ Fun flying a TBM 900 on its ferry flight from France to its U.S. customer.
Derived from the TBM 850, itself a variant of the original TBM 700, the new version offers better efficiency and performance without an increase in fuel consumption or engine power, according to the company. The aircraft received both FAA and EASA approval before it was publicly unveiled.
Winglets, a new tailcone and a five-blade composite propeller with redesigned spinner distinguish the TBM 900 externally from its predecessors. From the nose to the firewall the aircraft has been redesigned to improve engine airflow circulation, through use of a banana-shaped air intake, carbon-fiber cowlings and new exhaust stacks.
The new aircraft retains the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66D engine found on the TBM 850, as well as its Garmin G1000 avionics suite. Daher-Socata said customers have been “very happy” with the 850’s Garmin glass cockpit, so it decided to retain the system in the 900. However, the cockpit does include several “enhanced human-machine interface features,” including an ergonomic control yoke and revised cockpit center pedestal that incorporates single-lever power control.
Other new features include a revamped electrical system with a 300-amp starter generator, which provides a semi-automatic start-up, and 100-amp standby alternator. In addition, the TBM 900 has lower cabin noise levels than its predecessor, an automated pressurization system and new-design seats.
Compared with its predecessor, the TBM 900 has a top cruise speed that is 10 knots faster (330 knots at FL280) and a 1,730 nm maximum range with a 45-minute reserve with five passengers (extended from 1,585 nm), thanks to a fuel consumption reduction to 37 gallons per hour.
Since the TBM 900 can use all of the available 850 shp of engine power on takeoff, compared with 700 shp on the TBM 850, the aircraft’s ground roll is reduced by 460 feet, to 2,380 feet, at sea level. Meanwhile, an improved climb rate enables the turboprop to reach its 31,000-foot ceiling in 18 minutes 45 seconds, about two minutes quicker than in the TBM 850.