October 4, 2010
By Alton K. Marsh
Daher-Socata, the French-based aircraft manufacturer, is considering whether to bring a twin-engine business jet to market and has signed an agreement to study the all-composite Grob G180 sp n eight-passenger aircraft. The jet was in development when Grob Aerospace went bankrupt in 2008.
The study is expected to take several months. Daher-Socata officials said they are evaluating a business jet program based on the twin-engine sp n platform. (The sp n designation was meant to mean, “superior to the nth degree.”)
The second prototype of the jet suffered a fatal crash in November 2006 at the factory in Mattsies-Tussenhausen, Germany. The second aircraft had larger tail-control surfaces than the first aircraft, and preliminary indications pointed to flutter of those surfaces and their separation during a high-speed demonstration pass.
A statement from the company said, “ Daher-Socata, Daher group’s aeronautics division, regularly conducts studies with a view to developing of its range of aircraft. Within the framework of current projects, Daher-Socata has signed an exclusive agreement under which it will be evaluating, over a period of several months, the performance and technical characteristics of a twin-engine prototype aircraft built entirely using composites.
“The evaluation of a new business aircraft program illustrates the group's commitment to sustaining and developing aircraft construction, one of the division's core areas of expertise, alongside aerostructures, services and technological specialties,” the Daher-Socata statement said.
If the company decides to proceed with a business jet program, the Grob research could give it a head start.
Daher-Socata builds the TBM 850 single-engine turboprop. There are nearly 600 aircraft sold to date worldwide.
Daher specializes in the aerospace, nuclear, defense and industry sectors, concentrating on manufacturing, services, and transport worldwide. Founded in 1863, it is an independent, international group with installations in 12 countries. The company has tripled in size over six years and had revenues of 740 million euros ($1.02 billion) in 2009.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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