Daher-Socata dismisses SPn but continues twinjet plans

Washington DC
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Daher-Socata says it has recently completed a one-year evaluation of the seven-seat Grob SPn twinjet and decided not to pursue certification of the model.

"This aircraft was not as good as announced by the owners [Allied Aviation Technologies]," said Stephane Mayer, president and chief executive of the company during the AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on 24 July. Mayer did not give specific examples, but a Daher-Socata official said there were certain issues with hardware, flight envelope and processes for certifying the composite aircraft.

The agreement between Daher-Socata and AAT included use of two flight aircraft and one ground aircraft, in addition to pilots and other staff at its former owner Grob, which went bankrupt in 2008. The SPn assets are owned by AAT. The evaluation included 40h of flight time as well as paper analyses.

Daher-Socata has been investigating its own clean sheet twin-engined design, but will not be ready to disclose any details for at least 18 months, says Mayer, adding that the company is "speaking with many partners" about the project.

Meanwhile, the TBM 850 Elite, Daher-Socata's latest incarnation of the ubiquitous single-engined turboprop, has been certificated. The aircraft boasts a new rapid-change interior - which allows two of the six seats to be removed in as little as 30min, increasing the luggage volume capacity from 13 cubic feet (0.37 cubic metres) to 30 cubic feet, says the airframer.