While the 65th Annual NBAA Convention here in Orlando is the world’s greatest gathering of modern business aircraft, it isn’t the only great aircraft collection in the area. Drive just 15 minutes west on I-4 and you’ll find Kermit Weeks’s Fantasy of Flight, home to the “The World’s Greatest Aircraft Collection.” If you are a fan of early era through post-WWII aircraft, the museum is a not-to-be-missed destination.
There is some real aviation pedigree gathered in Las Vegas for the 2011 NBAA show, but you won’t find a company with a richer heritage than France’s Daher-Socata, which this year marks its 100th anniversary in aircraft manufacturing. The company’s ancestor Morane-Saulnier was established in 1911–eight years after the Wright brothers took to the air for the first time. French family-run industrial group Daher, Socata’s current owner, is 150 years old itself. At the end of 2008, it acquired a 70-percent stake in Socata from the EADS group. The anniversary has been marked with a series of special events throughout 2011, but most notably by the introduction of a special centenary edition of its TBM 850 single turboprop business and utility aircraft.
Spain’s Aviastec has joined Daher- Socata’s sales network. The Oviedo company will market the TBM850 in Spain and Portugal. Aviastec also has a maintenance facility at Madrid Cuatro Vientos airport. In Argentina, Socata delivered the first multi-mission version of the TBM850, to the country’s airport security police.
The world’s first production and certified very light jet, the Morane Saulnier MS760 Paris Jet, has a new lease on life. In October, JetSet Aviation Holdings, a subsidiary of JetSet International, announced that it had purchased the MS760 type certificate and intellectual property from France’s Socata, successor to Morane Saulnier, and that 32 MS760s are available for upgrade and purchase.
JetSet Aviation Holdings’s acquisition of the type certificate and associated rights for the MS760 ParisJet could well breathe new life into an aircraft that former owner Socata had probably written off. Designed, built and originally certified in France in the 1950s by Morane-Saulnier, the predecessor of Socata, the new owner calls the MS760 the world’s first very light jet.
Morane-Saulnier MS-760/B, St. Paul, Minn., Aug. 9, 2008–The cause of the takeoff accident was restricted elevator movement caused by a seatbelt that was buckled around the copilot control stick, according to the NTSB. The pilot was unable to see the seat belt, and the Board cited his failure to check the flight controls before flight as an additional cause.