EADS Socata celebrates the 20th anniversary of the TBM 700’s first flight
July 21, 2008 - Tarbes, France - EADS Socata is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first flight of its TBM 700 – the world’s fastest single-turboprop aircraft that opened a new era in business aviation this month.
July 21, 2008 By Administrator
On July 14, 1988, Chief Test Pilot Bernard Dorance and Flight Test Engineer, Jean Piatek performed the TBM 700’s maiden takeoff, initiating a 1-hour and 15 minute evaluation flight that demonstrated the aircraft’s excellent flying qualities.
The TBM 700 represented
an entirely new design at the time, combining high-speed and
performance with the efficiency of a turboprop engine. This prototype
was very similar externally to EADS Socata’s follow-on TBM 850, which
is continuing the aircraft’s international success. The TBM 700
prototype was initially powered by a 700-shp (522-kW) Pratt &
Whitney Canada PT6A-40 turboprop with a single exhaust stack replaced
later by the more efficient PT6A-64 version with a stack on each side
of the fuselage.
"At 20, a human being is
at the flower of his prime; at 20, the TBM aircraft family is
demonstrating the strength of its maturity while enjoying the vigor of
youth,” said Jean-Michel Léonard, EADS Socata’s Chairman and CEO. “The
creators were visionaries who foresaw the promise of launching the
first pressurized turboprop-powered aircraft – which has been largely
responsible for taking EADS Socata to its current position in the
business aviation industry.”
As the TBM 700’s
successor, the TBM 850 is marking another record sales year in 2008,
underscoring its potential to meet the evolving needs of faithful
customers, as well as those of future users, Leonard added.
The TBM was developed to
replace medium twin-engine piston aircraft that were the backbone of
business aviation, but which were considered slow and fuel-hungry,
while jets were beyond reach of the majority of customers. With
EADS SOCATA 2008 ,the TBM
700, a new opportunity opened up for a fast, capable and efficient
aircraft with a six- to seven–seat capacity and a sturdy low-wing
airframe produced in aluminum and steel.
Official roll-out of the
TBM 700 occurred on June 13, 1988 in the presence of former astronaut
Frank Borman and Muriel Hermine, four-time European champion in
Two years later, the U.S.
Federal Aviation Agency awarded a type certificate on August 28, 1990,
to the first civilian pressurized turboprop, and the keys of TBM 700 serial no. 1 were handed over to its owner at the 1990 National Business Aviation Association convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. "In 2008, we will celebrate this 20th anniversary milestone at the EAA AirVenture show Oshkosh,
Wisconsin beginning on July 28, taking the opportunity with our
customers and the entire TBM pilot community to look back at what has
been accomplished – and to reflect on what lies ahead," explained
Nicolas Chabbert, the President of EADS Socata North America. “In
almost a century of aviation, EADS Socata has overcome many challenges,
and the company has truly made its mark in aviation history.”