Daher on April 5 at the Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo in Lakeland, Florida, unveiled the newest version of its TBM pressurized single turboprop aircraft family, the TBM 960, which incorporates Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PT6E-66XT engine and a fully digital e-throttle. The aircraft also includes what Daher describes as a digitally controlled cabin that incorporates an all-new environmental control system, LED ambience lighting and electrically dimmable windows.
“The TBM 960 is the quintessential TBM, representing the fifth evolution of our very fast turboprop aircraft family since the TBM 900-series’ introduction in 2014,” said Nicolas Chabbert, the Senior Vice President of Daher’s Aircraft Division. “It takes the maximum advantage of today’s turboprop technology to provide digital control of the engine and the propeller.”
The TBM 960 has been certified by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and the certification process with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is currently underway. Deliveries of the TBM 960, which joins the existing TBM 910 model, are set to begin in the first half of 2022.
The TBM 960 retains the high speed of Daher’s TBM family, explains the company, while enabling lower fuel consumption. At Daher’s recommended cruise setting of 308 kts, the fuel consumption is only 57 U.S. gallons per hour, which is a 10 per cent fuel economy compared to the maximum cruise setting, for more sustainability.
Daher explains the heart of this latest TBM version is the intelligent PT6E-66XT powerplant and Hartzell Propeller’s five-blade Raptor composite propeller, both of which are linked to the dual-channel digital Engine and Propeller Electronic Control System (EPECS).
With the EPECS, the PT6E-66XT’s startup is fully automated after a single-switch activation. Daher explains the cockpit’s power lever is an e-throttle, using a single forward position from takeoff to landing – with the EPECS optimizing powerplant performance throughout the flight envelope while reducing pilot workload by integrating all functions and protecting the engine’s life. Analysis of engine parameters is driven by 100-plus smart data inputs.
The Raptor propeller is fully integrated into the propulsion system, designed to reduce overall weight and improve the TBM 960’s takeoff distance, climb and cruise speed. Turning at 1,925 RPM during maximum power output, Daher explains the Raptor contributes to limiting noise and vibration. Its sound level during takeoff is 76.4 decibels, meeting the stringent international noise standards.
With its G3000 integrated flight deck, the TBM 960 retains Daher’s e-copilot and safety systems found in other TBM models. This includes an icing protection system, flight envelope monitoring through the Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP) and the Under-speed Protection (USP) systems, the Emergency Descent Mode (EDM) function, as well as the HomeSafe emergency autoland system.
New to the TBM 960 is the Garmin GWX 8000 doppler weather radar with surveillance features like lightning and hail prediction, turbulence detection, zero blind range for close-in returns, and ground clutter suppression. Daher explains the TBM 960 also features the first application of Garmin’s GDL 60 next-generation data transmitter for automatic database upload and interconnection with mobile devices.
The TBM 960’s Prestige cabin extends Daher’s use of digital power inside the aircraft, explains the company, featuring an all-new environmental control system, LED ambience strip lighting integrated into both sides of the overhead ceiling panel, and electronically dimmable windows – all controlled by a Passenger Comfort Display (PCD). Daher notes enhancements in the cabin’s style and comfort also include new ergonomically enhanced seats, USB-A and USB-C power plugs, individual cupholders and headset hangers for each occupant.
For the TBM 960, a fifth TBM paint scheme – called Sirocco, based on the creativity of French designer Alexandre Echasseriau – has been added to the aircraft’s style customization possibilities.