We’ve mentioned before how the softened economy has widened the market for high-end turboprop planes which are more econoical if not quite as sexy as jets. The €2 million Daher-Socata TBM 850 aims to bridge the gap between the two in a damned stylish package aimed at owner-operators. The TBM 850 offers the advantages of the cruising speeds typical of light jets, but with the economical direct operating costs of a single-engine turboprop, and of course the lower pricetag. The plane is the product of a merger between Socata, founded in 1911, and French aerospace firm Daher.
The TBM 850, equipped with a Pratt & Whitney PT6A engine offering responsive handling and sporty performance, can accommodate six people including pilot and co-pilot in its luxurious, air-conditioned cabin. A Garmin G1000 integrated flight deck is available with synthetic-vision technology providing 3D terrain, traffic and obstacle visuals. The plane can climb to 31,000 ft in as little as 20 minutes, fly over 1,400 nautical miles with NBAA IFR reserves, and slip into a 640 metre airstrip or a mountain runway. A co-ownership program offering 100 flying days per year is also being offered for about €700,000.