Daher comes to EBACE on the heels of announcing, and even starting deliveries of, its latest-generation TBM turboprop single—the TBM 960. The French airframer unveiled the upgraded airplane in early April at the Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo in Lakeland, Florida, and by the end of the month had handed over the first production example. EASA certification of the 960 is already in hand, while FAA approval is pending, it said.
At the recent Aero Friedrichshafen show in Germany, Daher delivered the first TBM 960 to a German businessman. The airplane was sold by Daher distributor Rheinland Air Service and will be used for corporate transport.
Replacing the TBM 940 in the company’s lineup, the approximately $4.57 million aircraft sports a more efficient Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6E-66XT engine with a five-blade composite propeller and digital e-throttle. With the new model, Daher’s TBM family is now offered in two versions—the TBM 910 and 960.
An optional Prestige cabin package ups the price to about $4.8 million and adds a new environmental control system (ECS), LED ambience lighting, and electronically-dimmable windows. This premium cabin also includes a passenger comfort display for control of the ECS, LED lights, dimmable windows, and other enhancements such as new ergonomically enhanced seats, USB-A and USB-C power plugs, cupholders, and headset hangers at each of the airplane’s six seats.
“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, senior v-p 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.”
According to Daher, the PT6E-66XT’s startup is fully automated after a single-switch activation. Further, the e-throttle power lever uses a single forward position from takeoff to landing, with the dual-channel digital engine and propeller electronic control system optimizing powerplant performance throughout the flight envelope, reducing pilot workload, and increasing the engine life.
Fully integrated into the propulsion system, the Hartzell Raptor five-blade propeller is specifically designed to reduce overall weight and improve the TBM 960’s takeoff distance, climb, and cruise speed, in addition to limiting noise and vibration. Its sound level during takeoff is 76.4 decibels, meeting stringent international noise standards.
Performance is roughly the same as the TBM 940, including a 330-knot top speed at FL280 and max range of 1,730 nm at 252 knots. The Model 960 does have a 221-pound increase in mtow, to 7,615 pounds, to help offset the 140-pound heavier Prestige interior.
On the flight deck, the new TBM retains the 940’s Garmin G3000 avionics suite with electronic stability and protection, underspeed protection, emergency descent mode, and HomeSafe autoland functions, but adds Garmin GWX 8000 doppler weather radar with lightning and hail prediction and turbulence detection. It is also the first application for the Garmin GDL 60 data transmitter, which allows automatic database uploads and links with mobile devices.
A fifth TBM paint scheme—Sirocco, "based on the creativity of French designer Alexandre Echasseriau," according to Daher—has also been added for the TBM 960.
The 960 has been well received by customers, and Daher is sold out of TBMs through September 2023, Chabbert said. “We’re having incredible success, but we’re struggling to get parts for our supply chain. It’s a big challenge.” He expects Daher to ship 60 TBM 960s this year, but added that if the supply chain wasn’t constrained the company could produce up to 75.
Although only two TBM 910s were produced and delivered last year, Daher isn’t giving up on the model, as it remains attractive for operators that prefer it for commercial operations. “This year we won’t make any 910s,” Chabbert said. “All production will be the 960. But we’re working to see if there is an evolution [possible] for the 910.”