OSHKOSH: TBM 900 makes Airventure debut

French airframer Daher-Socata’s latest iteration of its high-speed workhorse the TBM 900 is making its Oshkosh debut. Company executives captured the EAA Airventure spirit during their press conference, dubbing the show “the perfect backdrop to our significant product enhancements.”

Chief executive Stephane Mayer said: “It feels like a homecoming.”

The OEM unwrapped the upgraded turboprop in March this year and has delivered 26 of them already, out of a backlog of 48. It has also sold out of its current year production line.

According to Mayer, more than a quarter of the aircraft’s components are new, or have been improved over the 850 variant, although the $3.7 million TBM 900 retains considerable commonality with its predecessor, including the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66D powerplant. However, it offers improved efficiency and performance thanks to aerodynamic modifications including winglets, a vertical tail-fin strake and a new tail cone. Top cruise speed is increased by 10kt (19km/h) to 330kt at 28,000ft and maximum range is extended by more than 300nm (560km).

Despite hints the company has dropped in the recent past about a possible new aircraft concept, Mayer quashed any notions of a jet in the offing. He said: “We firmly believe in the single engine market moving forward. We know we have value to add to this segment.”

So no jet yet, but the company is at the show aggressively pursuing its US ambitions. There are 20 TBMs flying in North America to date and the company is actively pursing dealerships and sales. Daher-Socata also manufactures parts for European airframers, including Airbus and Dassault, and Mayer said: “One of our targets now is to convince American OEMs to have us on board in their programmes.”

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