Epic Aircraft continues development of its all-composite turboprop singles and very light jets, though without the $200 million in funding Indian billionaire Dr. Vijay Mallya pledged last September at the NBAA Convention.
EADS Socata this week at EBACE outlined what its next product launch could be next year–a twin-engine business aircraft that is bigger than its TBM 850 turboprop single. “The future product will have two more seats than the [six-seat] TBM,” said Socata CEO Jean-Michel Léonard.
An incident in which the elevator controls on a Socata TBM 700 literally froze up and jammed because water accumulated in the fuselage and froze led to a French AD in October last year requiring compliance with a June 2000 Socata Service Bulletin calling for a new fuselage strainer draining system on the turboprop single.
EADS Socata here on Monday outlined what its next product launch could be next year–a twin-engine business aircraft, bigger than the TBM 850 single turboprop. Some criteria, such as finding enough funding for development, still have to be met. French-based Daher taking a stake in Socata may help.
The European General Aviation Manufacturers Association (EGAMA) was launched at EBACE’07 in a bid to more closely coordinate the industry’s interests at a European level.
In March, Socata appointed Stéphane Jacques as its new chief test pilot. The 44-year-old pilot succeeded Christian Briand, who retired after a 40-year career, 19 of them as a Socata test pilot, logging more than 19,000 flight hours.
EADS Socata’s latest TBM 850 business/utility aircraft is now available with an upgraded cockpit, based on a Garmin G1000 avionics suite. Pilots should benefit from uncluttered information display and better situational awareness. The TBM 850’s panel 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, in a bid to enter the growing small corporate flight department and air taxi market, is evaluating the case for developing a new turboprop or business jet that would be bigger than its six-seat TBM 850 but would not replace it. The French company is seeking financial and/or industrial partnerships for the $390 million project. It expects to make a decision on the new aircraft by early 2009 and fly it within five years.
First shown as a model at a 1990 Moscow exhibition, the single-turboprop M-101T Gzhel is nearing Russian certification, expected by the end of the year, following a major airframe refinement program that was launched two years ago after tests on the first prototype. A product of the Myasishchev Experimental Design Bureau, the program was delayed for a year by the crash of one aircraft after a loss of lateral control.
The resilience of general aviation was never more in evidence than at EAA’s AirVenture in late July, when an estimated 750,000 airplane buffs made the annual pilgrimage to east central Wisconsin for the 50th time.