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Middle Eastern travellers looking to charter in Europe and the US have a different option in the light-aircraft sector. Daher has launched a new and improved version of its very fast turboprop aircraft, the TBM 940, offering a smart and stylish cabin and greater automation in the cockpit
Although not well known in the Gulf, a region renowned for its love of heavy aircraft, Daher’s very fast turboprop aircraft are popular in the US and Europe, particularly with owner/operators, and have a growing following in Iran and across Africa. Tracing its origins to the pioneering Morane-Saulnier aviation company – and more recently the well-known SOCATA – Southern France-based Daher is the world’s oldest aircraft manufacturer in operation today, having built airplanes for more than a century. The company’s claims to fame include the first Mediterranean air-crossing by Roland Garros in 1913, and the MS 760 Paris, the first business jet in 1954.
Daher created the first in the TBM series of aircraft almost 30 years ago. Daher’s TBM 700, launched in 1990, was the first pressurised single-engine turboprop to be certified, and directly paved the way for today’s Daher TBM Family, which has evolved through the TBM 850 (2008), TBM 900 (2014) and the TBM 930 (2016).
The latest version in the series of single-engine very fast turboprop aircraft – the TBM 940 – was introduced in March this year, during the Safety Seminar meeting of the TBM Owners and Pilots Association, held in Florida, USA.
The TBM 940 has replaced the TBM 930 as the top of the range in the TBM family, with a number of important upgrades in the aircraft’s performance, safety and comfort, including the integration of an automated throttle and automatic de-icing system, along with enhancements to the style and ergonomic elements inside the cabin.
“The TBM 940 redefines the ultimate private aircraft: user-friendly, safe and efficient for both pilots and passengers,” says Nicolas Chabbert, Senior Vice-President of the Daher Airplane Business Unit. “This newest TBM family member underscores our firm commitment to constant improvement for the ownership and operational experience with our very fast turboprop aircraft.”
One key new feature on the TBM 940 is its automated throttle – the first ever installed on a standard production turboprop aircraft weighing less than 5.7 tonnes. Fully integrated with the autopilot, this single power lever autothrottle automatically adjusts the aircraft’s speed, based on the preset flight profile – from climb-out to the landing approach.
In addition to reducing pilot workload, the autothrottle enables a TBM 940 to be operated to the edge of approved power regimes for its Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66D turboprop engine, providing optimum performance and efficiency from the powerplant.
The engine parameters display has also been simplified on the aircraft, by use of an intuitive single smart gauge.
Also introduced on the TBM 940 is increased automation for the deicing system – another first in the TBM’s aircraft category. When icing or ice accretion is detected – and if the pilot does not take action – the system is automatically activated for deicing of the airframe, windshield, propeller and the engine’s particle separator. An amber CAS (Crew Alerting System) message is displayed by the avionics, advising the pilot to clear the automatic activation and revert to the manual control mode.
The automatic deicing protection and autothrottle are fully aligned with Daher’s e-copilot strategy of introducing functionality for improved operational safety on the TBM product line.
Restyling on the TBM 940 begins with a refined cabin entrance that incorporates a new carbon fibre floor. Inside the cabin Daher has incorporated ergonomic and style upgrades that include additional thermal insulation for the cabin sidewalls, a new central shelf with side storage, several cabinets to optimise storage space between the intermediate and pilot seats and an additional 115V electrical outlet at the right rear seat panel, and USB ports, bringing the overall total of USB ports to six for passengers and three for the pilots.
The improvements include new aerial design for seats, headrest and armrests, that combines comfort and aesthetics. Seats easily recline, and are carefully sized with adjustable backrests and folding armrests to allow passengers to relax in comfort. Every seat can now be heated. Once the mode is engaged by the pilot via a master control in the cockpit, each occupant can choose either a light or moderate heat setting, if they wish.
Cabin lighting consists of dimmable dome lights, baggage compartment lights, access stair lighting and individual reading lights at all seats.
The TBM 940 retains the same range and handling qualities of Daher’s TBM 900 series. Both the TBM 940 and TBM 910 offer superior performance, a maximum cruise speed of 330kts, and high efficiency with a 1,730nm maximum range and a fuel consumption at economy cruise of 37 US gallons per hour. This results from aerodynamic improvements, along with other aircraft enhancements. The maximum range and useful load, as well as the ability to land at small airports, are some of the customers’ favourite features.
To date, a total of 929 TBMs have been delivered to international owners and operators, with the global fleet accumulating some 1.6 million flight hours. Daher delivered 267 TBM 900-series aircraft through the end of 2018.
Certification of the TBM 940 by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is expected to be received at Aero Friedrichshafen 2019 in April, the largest European airshow for general aviation, allowing new aircraft deliveries late spring this year.
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