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July 24, 2012
By Alton K. Marsh
A Paris doctor joined a group of turboprop and light-jet pilots on a 27-country tour this year, ending with a Daher-Socata press conference at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., where he bragged of long, nonstop legs that required his jet friends to stop for fuel.
French TBM 700 pilot Louis-Alain and Annie Dumont participated in a trip that visited 27 countries during 53 stopovers. Total fuel consumption of the Daher-Socata turboprop-powered aircraft was approximately 4,800 gallons—an average 30 percent less than for equivalent light jets, the company claimed.
The TBM joined the fleet in Europe on May 19.
Dumont is a Paris-based doctor and said the TBM 700 gave him the range to fly direct legs, while the light jets needed stopovers. “My best performance was a flight from Marrakech (Morocco) to Malta (1,150-nautical miles), which I flew non-stop in 4.25 hours, while light-jet pilots had to make a 70-min fuel stop,” he added.
In other news, the company certified a new seating and cabin configuration for the TBM 850 Elite. The primary changes are new intermediate seats. Its middle seats can be oriented in a forward-facing position, whilethe rear seats are removable. In approximately 30 minutes, the TBM 850 can be reconfigured into a four-seat cabin, increasing the luggage volume capacity by three and doubling the maximum luggage weight, the company claimed.
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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