Of all the subsegments of the general aviation market, the turboprop field is the only one not experiencing an increase in new development. At airshow after airshow, very light jets, personal single-engine jets, more powerful piston singles and light sport airplanes have seen the greatest amount of activity. Although turboprops are one of the most efficient ways to fly, they are not the shining stars of most product development departments.
Aviation consulting and education firm Conklin & de Decker released the most recent version of its Aircraft Performance Comparator software last month. This version includes a number of new aircraft, such as the Citation Mustang, Hawker 750 and TBM 850. The software allows for a head-to-head comparison of more than 200 aircraft, enabling buyers to be more informed during the purchase process.
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.