March 29, 2011
By Thomas A. Horne
Nicolas Chabbert, president of Socata-North America, said on March 29 that Daher-Socata now offers a G1000 retrofit for TBM 700A and 700B models. So far, two of the company’s earlier turboprop singles have had G1000s installed; one more TBM 700 is being prepared for the upgrade.
The retrofits are being performed at two locations—the Socata factory in Tarbes, France, and Muncie Aviation in Muncie, Ind. The price of the retrofit is approximately $380,000, Chabbert said.
In other Socata news, Chabbert reported that less than 8 percent of the 548-strong TBM fleet is up for sale. Traditionally, fewer airplanes on the used market help drive sales of new models. Last year, 38 TBM 850s were sold, Chabbert said, a number that was up 5 percent from 2008 sales. Adding to the sense of guarded optimism is customer loyalty. Some 30 percent of TBM sales are to returning customers, Chabbert added.
As for Daher-Socata’s latest acquisition—Grob’s ill-fated spn twinjet—Chabbert said that the project was still under evaluation. A decision whether or not to proceed will be made by mid-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.
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