EADS Socata last month introduced the TBM 850 turboprop single, a more powerful, faster derivative of the TBM 700. During a press conference on December 14 in Paris, company executives insisted the already certified aircraft’s performance will be competitive with that of very light jets (VLJs). Last month, the first production TBM 850 was undergoing final assembly in Tarbes, France.
Socata TBM 700, Lancaster, Calif., Dec. 27, 2005–While the pilot was practicing engine-out approach procedures in VMC, the TBM 700, registered to Socata Aircraft of Pembroke Pines, Fla., crashed on approach to Gen. William J. Fox Airport. Damage to the airplane was substantial, but only one of the two crewmembers received minor injuries. The turboprop single was on an IFR flight plan and had been cleared to land.
The Socata TBM 850, a faster, more powerful derivative of the TBM 700 turboprop single, received FAA approval on January 23, six weeks after the EASA certified the airplane. On the same day, the first production TBM 850 made its maiden flight with EADS Socata chief pilot Christian Briand at the controls accompanied by flight-test engineer Alain Arnaud.
Following reports of corrosion and cracks in the vertical stabilizer attachment fittings on Socata TBM 700s, the FAA last month issued a non-mandatory special airworthiness information bulletin (SAIB). The SAIB “recommends” that operators of the turboprop single follow the inspection instructions contained in Socata Service Bulletin No. 70-104.
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