Daher took the wraps off a new single-engined turboprop on 5 April during a customer event at its Tarbes, southwest France headquarters.
Designated the TBM 930, the aircraft is the second in a family of TBM models planned by the French company for the coming years.
It is an enhanced version of the TBM 900, which will continue to be produced by Daher as its baseline model.
Speaking at the launch, Nicolas Chabbert, Daher’s senior vice-president, airplane business unit said: "Yesterday we were a single product manufacturer. Now we have an aircraft family."
The TBM 930 features Garmin’s G3000 touchscreen glass flightdeck, a reconfigured cockpit, redesigned seating, enhanced interior trimmings and finishes, along with Daher’s new bespoke e-copilot safety system – which is also a feature on 2016-built TBM 900s. The e-copilot is designed as a safety net around the TBM's flight envelope. It incorporates a sensor and angle of attack calculator; electronic stabilisation and protection systems, and under-speed protection.
There is also an emergency descent mode in the autopilot. This places the aircraft in automatic descent to a safe altitude of 15,000ft in the event of cabin depressurisation and lack of pilot response. New voice alerts replace the aural tones that notify about stall, over-speed, landing gear status and oxygen mask use.
The TBM 930 is priced at $4.1 million, some $300,000 more than the baseline model. The aircraft secured European and US certification in March and the first unit will be handed over to a current TBM owner on 8 April.
Daher accepts that its latest model will cannibalise the market for the TBM 900 and its current sales numbers bear this out. Of the 35-strong TBM orderbook, the majority are for the TBM 930.
"This is not a concern," says Daher’s director of TBM sales promotion, Philippe de Segovia. "There are plenty of customers who are happy with the TBM 900 and who won’t want to pay the extra money for the latest aircraft.”
More than 50 units are expected to delivered in 2016, predicts Daher chief executive, Didier Kayat: "The availability of these two aircraft underscores [our] sustained ambition in business aviation, and is a message to our customers that we continue to invest to expand and further improve our TBM family," he says.
Listening to customers has guided the TBM’s evolution, adds Chabbert. The product line began in 1991 with the first generation TBM 700. Since then, five versions have been brought to market - including the TBM 850 in 2006 – and the series is now approaching its 800th delivery.
"With enhanced resources provided by the Daher Group for technical studies, design and production, we’ve taken a new step forward with the current TBM family, while also positioning ourselves for future developments," Chabbert adds.
Daher declines to detail the make-up or quantity of the extended TBM family, but it does suggest that a stretch of the current fuselage is a strong possibility.
"People are always looking for user-friendly flying and more space in the cabin,” says Daher’s vice-president of engineering, Chistophe Robin. “What is important with any new product is that we keep the TBM’s signature 320kt [590km] high-cruise-speed. This is unique in this segment."
Source: Flight International