With the introduction of the Daher-Socata TBM 900 single-engine turboprop in March, the French manufacturer revealed that it had been working on the project for three years—and that the airplane was already done with test flights, certified, and in production, with first deliveries underway. The new airplane replaces the TBM 850, which has been on the market since 2006, with more than 300 copies in service around the world.
Although the basic airframe and engine of the 900 remain the same as those of the 850, no fewer than 26 modifications are incorporated into the new design, the company says, and the result is a distinctively new-looking aircraft. Most noticeable are the custom winglets and five-blade composite propeller, plus new cowlings, air inlet, inertial separator, and new exhaust stacks. The changes result in a performance boost, with an extra 17 mph added to the cruise speed, now about 380 mph. Maximum range is 1,990 miles, and fuel consumption averages 37 gallons per hour at long-range settings.
The 900’s cabin provides passengers with lower noise levels, an automated pressurization system, and new seat designs. Four roomy reclining leather seats plus a folding executive table create a comfortable workspace in the cabin. The two rear seats can be removed to provide more cargo room. An ergonomically upgraded cockpit provides newly designed yokes and instrument panels. Both pilots and passengers will benefit from a boosted electrical system that allows electronic devices to be used onboard. The TBM 900 Elite Package—which includes a satellite phone, upgraded interior fittings, and extended maintenance and warranty packages—sells for about $3.7 million. (954.893.1414, www.tbm.aero)