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.
Socata TBM 700, Lancaster, Calif., Dec. 27, 2005–The new owner of TBM N198X was receiving instruction from a CFI/ATP-rated pilot when the airplane crashed on short final approach to Runway 6 at General William J. Fox Airfield (WJF) in VMC.
Socata TBM 700, Dartmouth, Mass., Feb. 2, 2007–The TBM crashed on a missed approach to New Bedford Regional Airport (EWB) in night IMC, killing all three occupants. The commercial pilot had initially filed a flight plan for BED (Hanscom Field, Bedford, Mass.), not EWB, and when he changed the flight plan to EWB he failed to obtain a weather briefing for that airport.
Garmin named three additional OEM platforms for its G1000 avionics system, in the Cessna Caravan, Socata TBM 850 and under-development PiperJet. Cessna announced at the show that it is making the G1000 standard equipment in the Caravan starting in the first half of next year. The upgrade will be brought to all current production Caravan models.
The NTSB continues its investigation into a fatal crash April 24 that killed the pilot when his TBM 700 turboprop single hit a 38-foot telephone pole, then burst into flames a half-mile short of Runway 18 at Mobile Downtown Airport, Ala., at 8:10 p.m. VMC prevailed at the time.
When Charles Lindbergh began planning one of the first truly long cross-country solo flights in 1927 everyone understood the risks inherent in a 3,000-mile journey in an airplane powered by a single 223-hp Wright J5 engine. Failure meant he’d probably end up as a shark snack. Luckily, he didn’t have the boss on board.
Garmin International (Booth No. 7619) scored a trifecta at NBAA’07, with three aircraft manufacturers– Cessna, Piper and Socata–announcing selection of G1000 avionics suites. Cessna Aircraft announced on Monday that it is adopting the G1000 as standard equipment in the Caravan single-engine turboprop, available in the first half of next year for all Caravan models.
The anticipated production glut of very light jet competition hasn’t yet hurt Socata, which recently announced delivery of its 61st single-engine TBM 850 while noting that the business turboprop has surpassed 100 orders in less than 18 months on the market.
Of all the sub-segments of the general aviation market, the turboprop field is the only one not experiencing a marked increase of new development. At airshow after airshow, very light jets, personal single-engine jets, more powerful piston singles and light sport airplanes have garnered the greatest amount of attention.