The EASA issued a long-awaited notice of proposed amendment (NPA) on Thursday that would allow commercially operated single-engine turbine aircraft to fly at night and in IMC throughout Europe. EASA regulators said that some member states, as well as third-country operators, already allow some of their operators to conduct commercial single-engine IFR (SEIFR) flights under an exemption to EU-OPS rules, creating an “uneven playing field.”
When Daher-Socata of Tarbes, France, embarked on developing the TBM 900 single-engine turboprop as an update of the TBM 850), it took the opportunity to restore some of the sports-car swagger of the TBM 700, progenitor of the TBM turboprop line.
The Airbus-led effort to develop viable electrically powered aircraft was boosted by the first public flight of the first E-Fan aircraft on April 25. The first of the two- and four-seat E-Fan light training aircraft are due to enter service by the end of 2017, but the wider success of the program–which eventually hopes to prove the case for electrically powered regional airliners–is contingent on its developers achieving further technology breakthroughs in harnessing the new power source.
From the standpoint of aerodynamics, there aren’t many ways to make a modern airplane a lot better in a single bound, but as computers gain power smart designers can eke out subtle gains and combine them to extract more performance, which is what the engineering team at Daher-Socata has done with the already successful TBM single-engine turboprop line.
French turboprop manufacturer Daher-Socata has signed a new five-year agreement with Hartzell Propeller to supply the recently introduced TBM 900 with advanced swept-airfoil composite five-blade propellers and spinners. “The TBM 900 is distinguished by its comfort, speed and efficiency, and all three are improved by Hartzell’s five-blade prop, which is quieter, speedier and more efficient,” said Nicolas Chabbert, senior vice president of Daher-Socata’s airplane business unit.
There is good news and bad news for Rhineland Air Service (RAS), the Daher-Socata TBM distributor for Germany and Austria. The good news is that Badenwings, a corporate aircraft operator in Germany, stopped by Daher-Socata’s EBACE exhibit (Booth 6540) on Tuesday and unexpectedly signed for a new TBM 900. However, the aircraft that Badenwings will be taking–S/N 1005–was originally slotted to be delivered next week to RAS as a demonstration aircraft, so the distributor will now have to wait until later in the year to get another demo TBM 900.
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.
Daher-Socata’s TBM 900 is making its EBACE debut this week here in Geneva, just two months after the upgraded turboprop single was unveiled at the manufacturer’s factory in Tarbes, France. The aircraft at the EBACE static display, registered as D-FRAS, was the seventh TBM 900 to be delivered when it was handed over to Rheinland Air Service on April 10.
The European Aviation Safety Agency STC’d Hartzell Propeller’s swept airfoil composite five-blade propellers on the Daher-Socata TBM 700/850. First installation of the new higher performance Hartzell prop on a European-registered TBM was recently performed at the Socata North America Service Center in Pembroke Pines, Fla. According to Hartzell, the new propeller for the turboprop single results in faster takeoff acceleration, higher cruise speeds and better climb, along with less noise.
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.
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