Fast growing European fractional operator Jetfly will more than double its fleet of high-speed executive turboprops after announcing a number of orders here yesterday.
JetFly, a Luxembourg-based company set up in 1999, is offering fractional ownerships in single-engine turboprop aircraft.
A couple of years ago, the imminent arrival of the new-generation very light jets posed a real threat to EADS Socata’s (Booth No. 1432) TBM 700 family of single turboprops. This specter prompted the company to introduce the more powerful TBM 850 in December 2005.
The Air Accident Investigation Branch of the British Department of Transport is adopting a cautious approach to its investigation of the crash of Socata TBM 700 N30LT at Oxford Airport (EGTK), England, on December 6, according to an agency spokesman. Sixty- nine-year-old multimillionaire Paul- Louis Halley, of France’s Carrefour supermarket chain, his wife and the Belgian pilot were killed in the accident.
European authorities have again delayed approval for single-engine commercial operations in instrument meteorological conditions (SECIMC). Operators expected clearance this month, but at least 10 months will pass before such flights (roughly equivalent to U.S. SECIFR operations) win approval.
Introduction of the TBM 850 “very fast turboprop” single to meet the challenge of the VLJ has firmly lifted Socata’s fortunes out of the stagnation that the company endured in 2003 and 2004. The EADS subsidiary delivered 42 TBM 850s last year, a 35-percent improvement on the 31 TBM 700s delivered the previous year. The company also delivered one TBM 700C2, all of which contributed to a revenue increase of 21 percent.
A TBM 700 crashed one mile west of New Bedford Regional Airport in New Bedford, Mass., on February 2, killing all three people aboard. The aircraft carried two pilots–the owner, a low-time private pilot with an instrument rating, and a commercial pilot employed by the owner. IMC prevailed, with a reported ceiling of 200 feet overcast. One of the pilots reported a missed approach on the ILS to Runway 5.
French supermarket tycoon Paul-Louis Halley, who had amassed a personal fortune estimated at $3.75 billion and was listed by Forbes as the 104th richest man in the world, died along with his wife and their pilot in the crash of a Socata TBM 700 (N30LT) at Oxford (Kidlington) Airport (EGTK), UK, on December 6. Inbound from Brussels Airport (EBBR), Belgium, the pilot was conducting an NDB/DME approach to Runway 01 at EGTK.
The FAA last month issued three separate airworthiness alerts on the TBM 700 turboprop single. The alerts, which do not carry the force of ADs, but are “highly recommended” by the FAA, deal with a faulty GPU plug that could damage the power supply cable; possible interference between the pitot-tube supply line and the aileron cable; and corrosion-caused cracks in the attachment fittings of the tail fin.
EADS Socata today unveiled the TBM 850, a slightly faster, re-engined version of its TBM 700 turboprop single. The new model will have a maximum cruise speed of 320 knots, 20 knots faster than its predecessor thanks to a higher-power 1,825-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66D engine (derated to 850 shp). The TBM 700 is powered by a 1,583-shp PT6A-64 derated to 700 shp.