Daher-Socata Refines TBM 850 Elite
Daher-Socata is here at EBACE (Booth 1643) with its model year 2013 TBM 850 Elite, featuring a special cabin equipment package. The Tarbes, France-based company sold 38 examples of the single-engine turboprop last year, while its specialist aerostructures activities mean that it is involved in still-under-wraps business jet programs.
The 2013 package includes “a deluxe leather interior with a storage cabinet, wooden or carbon-fiber fittings, and 14V DC power plugs.” On top of this comes the “highly extended exclusive maintenance program,” which reduces scheduled maintenance costs over five years or 1,000 hours.
Separately, a new maintenance program (NMP) recommends maintenance intervals of 200 hours (instead of the previous 100 hours) or 12 months, whichever occurs first. The NMP is available on new production aircraft, while the transition for previously delivered TBM 850s can be made during their annual inspection.
Additional safety options in the 2013 Elite package are a GPS-linked emergency locator transmitter and a pulsed light system. The latter alternately flashes the landing, taxi and recognition lights 45 times per minute to increase the aircraft’s visibility. The Elite version of the TBM 850, unveiled last year, offers greater payload flexibility thanks to reconfigurable and removable seats, as well as a freight safety net.
Daher-Socata delivered a total of 298 TBM 850s as of year-end 2012, and the combined fleet of TBM 700s and 850s has surpassed one million flight hours. The 38 TBM 850s the airframer sold last year represented its “fourth best year,” said the company.
The sales equated to “an 18-percent share of the market segment.” The majority of TBM 850s purchased in 2012 were acquired by U.S. customers (66 percent); Canada ranked second, with 13 percent, followed by Brazil and Germany’s (8 percent each). One sale was achieved in the UK last year, where the market is showing “signs of recovery.” Thailand joined the club of TBM countries with a contract for its first TBM 850 in June.
To expand its product range, Daher-Socata is still hesitating about launching a twin-engine program, and has studied using the defunct Grob SPn as a basis. However, CEO Stéphane Mayer has confirmed that the company will not relaunch it–for now. “Business aviation is beginning to show signs of full recovery, so funding the development of a new aircraft will hopefully be easier in two years, most probably with a partner,” said Mayer.
While Daher-Socata is mostly known in business aviation for its TBM 850 turboprop single, it also plays roles in other in-development aircraft programs. For the Falcon SMS, Daher-Socata is providing Dassault with the upper fuselage for the passenger cabin and the lower forward fuselage section, as well as two doors–one emergency exit and one baggage door, Mayer told AIN.
Separately, Mayer said, “A major U.S. business jet manufacturer has selected us for components that will be part of a new family of three aircraft.” He revealed that the components are landing gear doors and that they will be made of composite materials.
Daher-Socata has long been active in composites research and development for business aviation, and has even built a demonstrator for a TBM 850-sized fuselage.