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FLIGHT TEST THE BEST OF 2010 J JANUARY 2010 TBM850

CLOCKWISE FROM MAIN: latest glass cockpit equipped TBM850 over the threshold at Tarbes, France. Large door makes loading easy. Garmin G1000 fully integrated into TBM's systems.

IS there a business case for a single-engine tturboprop such as the Daher-Socata TBM range? The TBM’s superb flying qualities and d relatively l ti l llow operating costs are such that it could be a business machine, if only EASA can be persuaded to change the rules for Single-Engine IMC operations. Until then, it’s reserved for the lucky owner-pilot mostly. Socata has taken a bold initiative in pitching the latest TBM, the 850, as the ‘Very Fast Turboprop’, a clear broadside at Very Light Jets such as the Cessna Mustang, Embraer Phenom 100 and Eclipse EA-500. Socata claims the 850 performs almost as well as the jets for considerably lower operating costs, and the latest are fitted with Garmin’s G1000 glass cockpit in common with many of the jets. Performance first: Socata’s figures show the TBM can climb to FL260 in 15 mins or 31,000ft in 20 mins, figures up there with the Mustang and Phenom. That’s important because at the higher altitudes you burn less fuel. Max range of the TBM is 1400nm with reserves, and it has a cruise speed of 320 KTAS at FL260 – a touch slower than the jets but a more attainable Flight Level in Europe’s congested airspace. The VLJs can’t go high enough to go over the airliners (unlike, say, a Learjet 60 XR) and may be denied the Flight Levels they ask for because they’re also slower. An example from Socata’s own figures shows

FACT FILE BASE PRICE $2.9m CRUISE 320kt @ 26,000ft MAX RANGE 1585nm CEILING 31,000ft MTOW 3350kg EMPTY 2081kg FULL FUEL PAYLOAD 407kg (900lb) WINGSPAN 12.68m LENGTH 10.645m PAX SEATS 4+2 ENGINES 1 x Pratt & Whitney PT-6 turboprop MANUFACTURER Daher-Socata www.tbm850.com

that a 600nm trip at FL260 will take deadon two hours, which a light jet may beat but not by much. Two other performance figures to embarrass the jets: the TBM can get in and out of some pretty short strips and even some of the Alpine mountain runways – 2100ft is all it needs; the payload with full fuel is 849lb, 249lb more than the Mustang, and 269lb more than the Phenom 100. Suddenly, the TBM looks decidely attractive. When you start to assess other factors such as insurance, pilot training and the all-important direct operating costs (DOC), the TBM 850 starts to walk away with the argument. The TBM 850’s DOC according to Jetex is $559 per hour (US prices), which compares with the Mustang at $724 p/h and the Phenom 100 at $886 p/h. Insurance is estimated at $30,000 a year, and training at $3500 a year. The factory 24 | P1 BUSINESS AVIATION MAGAZINE | February 2011

P1 February 2011  

P1 is Loop Publishing's business aviation magazine, published bi-monthly. It brings alive the glamorous, exciting world of business jets, tu...

P1 February 2011  

P1 is Loop Publishing's business aviation magazine, published bi-monthly. It brings alive the glamorous, exciting world of business jets, tu...

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