Socata TBM 700, Dartmouth, Mass., Feb. 2, 2007–In the crash of the TBM that killed all three aboard, the NTSB determined the probable cause was both pilots’ failure to maintain aircraft control during a missed approach to New Bedford Regional Airport (EWB). The commercial pilot, who had 125 hours of instrument time, had filed a flight plan for the wrong airport and received a weather briefing for that airport.
The single-engine turboprop TBM 850 is now available with an upgraded cockpit, based on the Garmin G1000 avionics suite, the French manufacturer announced in January. The rationalized information display stands to improve pilots’ situational awareness. Now the panel of the TBM 850 looks like that of the Cessna Citation Mustang very light jet, which is also based on the G1000, but Socata has customized the system to its six-seater.
EADS Socata unveiled an upgraded TBM 850 turboprop single last month during a “discovery show” held at the company’s factory in Tarbes, France. The latest version of the six-seat airplane includes an integrated glass flight deck featuring the Garmin G1000, new environmental control system, reconfigured cabin and a forward baggage area. Cockpit and cabin changes have reduced airframe weight, increasing the TBM 850’s useful load by 110 pounds.
EADS Socata chairman and CEO Jean-Michel Léonard told AIN that the France-based manufacturer is evaluating production of a new turboprop or business jet that is bigger than the company’s TBM 850 turboprop single. “We have the capability, market expertise and credibility to produce a faster and longer-range aircraft,” he said, adding that the new airplane would offer two more seats than the six-seat TBM 850.
An upgraded EADS Socata TBM 850 turboprop single was unveiled late last week during a “discovery show” held at the company’s factory in Tarbes, France. The latest version of the six-seat airplane includes an integrated glass flight deck based on the Garmin G1000 system, an update that was announced at the NBAA Convention in September, as well as other improvements.
The fatal crash of a TBM 700 more than two years ago is just now leading to a proposed AD to require replacing the Anjou Aeronautique brand seatbelt/shoulder harnesses in 158 U.S.-registered examples of the turboprop single.
Socata’s C2 version of the TBM 700 turboprop single received FAA certification on March 17. The latest version of the six-passenger aircraft was originally due to complete the U.S. approval process last fall. The $2.65 million TBM 700C2 offers a 12-percent increase in mtow and incorporates 20-g seats, strengthened wheels and 10-ply tires.
The first customer TBM 700C2, the latest variant of EADS Socata’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-64-powered turboprop single, has arrived at Socata’s U.S. headquarters in Pembroke Pines, Fla., ready for delivery to its Wisconsin-based owner as soon as FAA certification is finalized, which was expected at press time.
Art Maurice’s corner of the overall general aviation market is strong, and he has lots of reasons why he thinks that’s so. Maurice is a co-founder and president of Columbia Air Services, a family of companies that offers sales, maintenance, avionics, FBO services and, now, charter. Columbia, based in Groton, Conn., has built much of its reputation and following within the owner-flown turbine community.
In the past, turboprop singles used for business flying typically did not offer the speed, load capability or systems redundancy of turboprop twins, though singles have amassed a comparable safety record. But the differences between them are disappearing with the advent of new breed of turboprop singles destined to enter the market in the next two or three years.