- 11 Jun 2021
- GA Buyer Europe
French industrial conglomerate Daher acquired Socata which developed the TBM series of single-engine turboprop aircraft with Mooney Aircraft Company. The TBM derives from the Mooney 301 aircraft. With several models built since the original TBM 700, today Daher produces the TBM 910, 930 and 940 models remain in production
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Depending on the age and condition, buyers can purchase a used Socata model at various price points. For example, Aircraft Bluebook’s summer 2021 data shows that a 2010-model TBM 850 retails for approximately $1.9m, while a 2000-model TBM 700B is $1.1m. An original 1991-model TBM 700 costs $650k.
In April 2021, there were 608 Socata TBMs flying worldwide, per JETNET (assuming all TBM 850 models are counted as Socata). The TBM 850 has the largest in-operation fleet, with 325 units. At the time of writing, there had been 56 TBM retirements from a total 664 units built.
Socata TBMs offer maximum ranges between 1,200nm for the TBM 700C model up to 1,364nm for the TBM 850, according to Conklin & de Decker. These ranges are based on four passengers and available fuel aboard.
In addition to Daher TBM models, there are several other single-engine turboprop aircraft on the market – however, Piper Aircraft’s M600 provides a similar range capability as the TBM 850, though the M600 offers newer technology.
Socata Turboprops Overview
By Gerrard Cowan
Socata has a history that can be traced back more than a century. Now part of the Daher company, before its acquisition it had established a strong presence in the turboprop market through the TBM brand, which continues to this day.
The Birth of the TBM 700
The company’s history in the turboprop domain began with a partnership with US-based Mooney Aircraft Company in 1985 to develop a pressurized single turboprop aircraft on the basis of Mooney’s M301. Thus was born the Socata TBM 700 (‘TB’ for Tarbes and ‘M’ for Mooney), the French manufacturer’s first product in the turboprop market.
There were a number of variants of the TBM 700. The original aircraft – the Socata TBM 700A – was a multipurpose, six or seven-seat platform featuring a 1,580shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 engine.
The 700A is still popular with private owners on the pre-owned market, and particularly with those looking to progress from complex single-engine piston aircraft to higher-performance turboprops.
The TBM 700A was followed in 1999 with the Socata TBM 700B, which offers a large cargo door and optional pilot door, while retaining the main cabin configuration of the previous model with four facing seats and a rear baggage area.
The subsequent Socata TBM 700C version offered strengthened wing attachments and wheels to enable an increased maximum take-off weight, from 6,579lbs to 7,398lbs. And this model brought with it a range of other improvements, including as a new air conditioning system. The Socata TBM 700C2 was the eventual production model, featuring crashworthy seats, new avionics and other benefits.
Acquisition of Socata
Socata was acquired by EADS/Airbus at the turn of the century, before Daher bought the majority of the company in 2008 and completed its takeover in 2014 by absorbing the remainder of the OEM, at which point its aircraft were rebranded under the Daher name.
Ahead of that point, the TBM 850 was the final turboprop aircraft created under the Socata name. The TBM 850 (the commercial name of the TBM 700N), was launched in 2006 and has been a significant success with private owners.
This aircraft can hold up to five passengers and a pilot, and has a maximum range of 1,585nm, along with an upper cruise speed of 320kts. Powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-66D engine, the TBM 850 was upgraded with a Garmin G1000 avionics suite in 2008 - and older versions of the aircraft can today be upgraded to this system, too.
Operators can also opt for the TBM 850 Elite, which offers more space and a range of upgrades to the interior.
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