February 26, 2013
By Dan Namowitz
Daher-Socata unveiled its 2013 TBM 850 Elite turboprop single for U.S. customers Feb. 25 in Boca Raton, Fla., with cockpit enhancements, a GPS-linked emergency locator transmitter, new interior options, and an updated maintenance program.
The decision to extend production of the TBM 850 Elite, which can cruise at 320 knots at Flight Level 260, into a second year was “based on the tremendous customer interest” in the aircraft, said Nicolas Chabbert, senior vice president of Daher-Socata’s airplane division, in a news release. Chabbert also is president of Socata North America.
The company said it delivered 38 TBM 850s in 2012, for an 18-percent share of its market segment.
A cockpit enhancement is the integration of L-3 Avionics’ Trilogy ESI-2000 Electronic Standby Instrument (ESI), replacing the previous electro-mechanical version. “As the first solid-state integrated standby system specifically created for general aviation, the advanced solid-state Trilogy ESI-2000 has an internal battery and easy-to-read 4-X-3-inch active matrix liquid crystal display,” the company said.
Interior color offerings were extended. A special package of benefits includes other interior amenities and a maintenance program extension “which lowers scheduled maintenance costs for five years or 1,000 hours.” A maintenance tracking system for owners is included.
Safety options include the GPS-linked emergency locator transmitter and a pulsed light system that “alternately flashes landing, taxi and recognition lights 45 times-per-minute to increase the aircraft’s visibility,” Daher-Socata said.
New intermediate seats are included in a cabin which can be reconfigured from six seats to four to increase baggage volume and weight capacity. The oxygen system was repositioned to allow assisting passengers in both cabin configurations.
Other options include a full avionics suite with Garmin’s Synthetic Vision System dynamic terrain imaging, Chartview electronic chart database, and a GSR 56 Iridium satellite datalink transceiver, Daher-Socata said.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
Continuing significant orders to the training market shows that Piper Aircraft is making progress in its three-year plan to gain market share in that competitive arena.
L-3 Aviation Products plans to join the general aviation ADS-B world with its Lynx MultiLink Surveillance System. The new products will be “specifically tailored to fit the panel and budget of today’s general aviation aircraft and pilots,” said Larry Riddle, vice president of sales and marketing.
The SkyCraft SD-1 Minisport has completed flight testing and hopes to achieve certification by September, the company announced July 30 at EAA AirVenture.
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