April 8, 2010
By Thomas A. Horne
A strong used market, a large order backlog, and a not-so-bad 2009 give Daher-Socata reason to be cautiously optimistic about the company’s future sales performance.
“Only 10 percent of the TBM fleet is for sale,” said company President Nicolas Chabbert. “And we sustained just a 17-percent drop in anticipated sales in 2009. Compared to the rest of the general aviation market segments, that’s not bad. And it shows the ongoing value of turboprops in challenging economic times.”
As of April 1, 190 TBM 850s have been delivered, and orders for 216 more have been taken.
In a press conference, Daher-Socata announced a new program that retrofits its out-of-production TB series of piston singles with Garmin’s G500 avionics displays. The installation comes with Garmin’s GAD 43 adapter unit that serves as an interface between the G500 and the airplane’s autopilot.
In other news, Chabbert noted that Daher-Socata’s “next generation” twin-turbine-powered project continues. Marketing studies have been completed, a technical review is past its mid-point, and “now we’re looking for financing,” Chabbert said. “We should have an answer by the end of the year.”
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
The AOPA Medical Advisory Board is the latest group to urge quick action on the proposed FAA rule that would allow thousands more pilots to fly without the need for a third class medical certificate.
Mexico has lifted a requirement that pilots of arriving and departing private general aviation flights use a third party provider to file advance passenger information system (APIS) manifests.
The Perlan Project is less than a year away from the first flight of a glider being built to ride waves near the edge of space. While construction continues in Oregon, the team’s pilots are staying proficient in more ordinary aircraft.
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