Daher Plans To Up Production, Add Hybrid-electric TBM

 - March 29, 2023, 12:00 PM
Daher expects to bring a hybrid-electric TBM to market in 2027 that is influenced by the EcoPulse. (Rendering: Daher)

By 2027, Daher’s aviation division expects to broaden its product lineup with a hybrid-electric TBM and set up a third aircraft production facility in Stuart, Florida, Daher aviation division senior v-p Nicolas Chabbert told AIN. The French company produces four models—the Kodiak 100 Series III and 900 and TBM 910 and 960—and shipped 73 airplanes last year and estimates 85 to 90 deliveries this year.

The additional production line will be located at Daher’s aerostructures facility in Stuart. Combined with Kodiak production in Sandpoint, Idaho, and TBM manufacturing in Tarbes, France, the Florida facility will make both lines and boost total annual output to 120 to 130 airplanes.

That ancillary capacity will be needed as Daher plans to add a fifth model—a hybrid-electric TBM influenced by its EcoPulse technology demonstrator being developed in partnership with Safran and Airbus. According to Chabbert, the hybrid-electric EcoPulse logged 10 hours in late March with two of its six motors installed. Initial testing focused on thermal issues.

As of late April, flight testing of the demonstrator was set to resume in a four-motor configuration. By next month, the EcoPulse will have all six motors installed before making its public debut at the Paris Airshow, which opens on June 19. Chabbert said Daher is evaluating the motor configurations in stages to guide the development of a production hybrid-electric aircraft, which he expects will enter service in 2027.

Meanwhile, Daher recently announced several upgrades for its high-performance TBM 960 and utility Kodiak 100 turboprop singles, as well as EASA validation for its larger Kodiak 900.

For the Kodiak 100, the company is offering a composite five-blade propeller as an option for Series III models and as a retrofit for all Model 100s. Compared with the stock four-blade propeller, the option is 13 pounds lighter and reduces noise and takeoff roll distance by 6.6 percent and 6 percent, respectively. A Garmin 1000 NXi upgrade that includes the GTX 345R ADS-B In/Out transponder is also available as a retrofit for all Kodiak 100s.

The TBM 960 is getting a checklist review button on the yoke and repositioned altimeter setting knobs, as well as Garmin 4G LTE/Wi-Fi datalink and GWX 8000 StormOptix weather radar.

Daher's Kodiak 900 also received EASA validation early last month, allowing deliveries to begin in Europe. Despite the fact that the region accounts for only 5 percent of the Kodiak's worldwide fleet distribution, Chabbert is optimistic that the Kodiak 900, and its smaller Kodiak 100 Series III sibling, will be able to make more inroads there.

In fact, the company had a major presence at the Single Engine Operations Conference on April 21 as part of the Aero Friedrichshafen show in Germany. This conference sought to explore how this aircraft segment could take advantage of EASA’s 2017 approval for single-engine turbine aircraft to fly commercially at night and in instrument meteorological conditions.

Further, the company designated Simcom as the factory-approved training organization for all of its aircraft. The addition of Kodiak 100 and 900 training at Simcom builds on the companies' 24-year relationship for TBM instruction. As part of the agreement, Simcom is installing a fixed-based Kodiak flight simulator, built by Frasca International, at its Scottsdale, Arizona facility that is expected to be online by October.