- 01 Sep 2022
- Mike Chase
- Turboprop Comparisons
How do the Daher TBM 940 and the Epic E1000 GX compare in the single-engine turboprop market? What are the advantages offered by each model, and to whom would they appeal? Mike Chase explores...
Over the following paragraphs we’ll consider some of the key productivity parameters for the Daher TBM 940 and the Epic E1000 GX (including payload, range, speed, and cabin size) to establish which aircraft provides the better value in the single-engine turboprop market, and to whom.
For example, how might the desire for higher speed, longer range, or lower operating costs influence a buying decision? It’s hoped that the following turboprop comparison will help clarify.
Daher TBM 940
The latest aircraft in the TBM 900 series, Daher’s TBM 940, was announced in March 2019, featuring an autothrottle and the Garmin G3000 avionics suite. The autothrottle reduces pilot workload and protects the engine. Since 2020, new production TBM 940s also incorporate the Emergency Autoland system from Garmin, branded HomeSafe.
Meanwhile on the exterior, a new, two-foot winglet helps to significantly reduce drag on the airframe.
At the time of writing, 147 TBM 940s were in operation worldwide with 145 being wholly-owned, according to JETNET. A further two TBM 940s were at the OEM, another was in production, and one had been retired, giving a total of 151 units built since 2019. The majority (85%) were US-registered.
Epic E1000 GX
Epic Aircraft announced on July 15, 2021 that it had received the type certificate from the FAA for its next generation version of the E1000, the E1000 GX. The Epic E1000 GX features the updated Garmin GFCTM 700 automated flight control system and a Hartzell five-blade composite propeller. The GFCTM’s advanced altitude and heading reference system (AHRS) is fully integrated with the Garmin G1000 NXi flight deck.
A development of the kit-built Epic LT, the E1000 GX is predominantly made of carbon fiber, and the certification application process for the E1000 began in 2015 with final FAA Type Certification being granted in November 2019.
Of the 21 Epic E1000 GX turboprops in operation at the time of writing, 20 are wholly owned, according to JETNET. Six more units were at the OEM, giving a total 27 aircraft built to date.
When comparing business turboprops, an important area for potential operators to focus on is payload capability, especially the ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’. Table A (below) shows the Epic E1000 GX has an ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’ of 950lbs, which is greater than the 584lbs offered by the Daher TBM 940.
Table A: Daher TBM 940 vs Epic E1000 GX Payload Comparison
Cabin Cross-Section Comparison
Chart A shows the cabin width and height of the Epic E1000 GX is 4.5ft., which is more than the Daher TBM 940.
Chart A: Daher TBM 940 vs Epic E1000 GX Cabin Comparison
However, the Daher TBM 940 offers a greater cabin length of 15ft, vs 13.9ft (Epic E1000 GX). One of the main selling points of the Epic E1000 GX is its cabin volume, and in this comparison the 184cu.ft offered by the E1000 GX is greater than the 123cu.ft. provided by the TBM 940.
In terms of luggage space, the TBM 940 provides more internal volume than the E1000 GX (30cu.ft. vs 18cu.ft.).
Using Wichita, Kansas as the start point, Chart B compares the ranges of our comparative turboprops. The Epic E1000 GX (1,232nm) offers less range than the Daher TBM 940 (1,514nm), with each aircraft carrying full fuel with available payload.
Chart B: Daher TBM 940 vs Epic E1000 GX Range Comparison
Note: ‘Full fuel with available payload range’ represents the maximum IFR ranges of the aircraft at Long Range Cruise with NBAA IFR alternate fuel reserve calculation for a 100nm alternate. This does not include winds aloft, or any other weather-related obstacles.
Both aircraft have Pratt & Whitney Canada powerplants. Daher’s TBM 940 utilizes a single PT6A-66D engine, providing 850shp of output and burning 65 gallons of fuel per hour (GPH). The Epic E1000 GX utilizes a single 1,200shp Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67A engine, which burns 51 GPH of fuel. Thus, the Epic E1000 GX has a lower hourly consumption of fuel.
Cost per Mile Comparison
Chart C details the ‘Cost per Mile’ of each model, factoring direct costs and with each aircraft flying a 1,000nm mission with available payload. The Epic E1000 GX has a slightly lower cost per mile ($2.45 versus $2.50) compared to the Daher TBM 940, according to JETNET.
Chart C: Daher TBM 940 vs Epic E1000 GX Cost Per Mile Comparison
Variable Cost Comparison
The ‘Variable Cost’ illustrated in Chart D is defined as the estimated cost of fuel, maintenance labor expense, scheduled parts expense, and miscellaneous trip expense (hangar, crew, and catering).
These costs DO NOT represent a direct source into every flight department and their trip support expenses. For comparative purposes, the costs presented are the relative differences, not the actual differences since these may vary from one flight department to another.
The Daher TBM 940 ($630) shows the higher variable cost per hour than the Epic E1000 GX ($574). That’s a difference of $56 dollars or 9.8%.
Chart D: Daher TBM 940 vs Epic E1000 GX Variable Cost Comparison
Table B contains the 2022-model prices for our comparative aircraft, per B&CA and Aircraft Bluebook. At $4.19m, the Epic E1000 GX has a lower price than the Daher TBM 940 ($4.663).
The long-range cruise speed and range data is sourced from B&CA, while the cabin volumes, number of aircraft in operation, the fleet percentage for sale, and average sold per month are from JETNET.
At the time of writing, just one Daher TBM 940 (0.7% of the fleet) was available ‘for sale’ on the pre-owned aircraft market, while there were no Epic E1000 GX aircraft for sale on the pre-owned market. The average number of new and used transactions (units sold) per month over the previous 12 months stood at three for the TBM 940 and one for the Epic E1000 GX.
Table B: Daher TBM 940 vs Epic E1000 GX Market Comparison
Representative MACRS Depreciation Schedules
Aircraft that are owned and operated by businesses are often depreciable for income tax purposes under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS). Under MACRS, taxpayers can use accelerated depreciation of assets by taking a greater percentage of the deductions during the first few years of the applicable recovery period.
In certain cases, aircraft may not qualify under the MACRS system and must be depreciated under the less favorable Alternative Depreciation System (ADS), based on a straight-line method, meaning that equal deductions are taken during each year of the applicable recovery period. In most cases, recovery periods under ADS are longer than recovery periods available under MACRS.
There is a variety of factors that taxpayers must consider in determining if an aircraft may be depreciated, and if so, the correct depreciation method and recovery period that should be utilized. For example, aircraft used in charter service (Part 135) are normally depreciated under MACRS over a seven-year recovery period, or under ADS using a 12 year recovery period.
Aircraft used for qualified business purposes, such as Part 91 business use flights, are generally depreciated under MACRS over a period of five years or by using ADS with a seven-year recovery period. There are certain uses of the aircraft, such as non-business flights, that may have an impact on the allowable depreciation deduction available in any given year.
The US enacted the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act into law on December 22, 2017. Under the Act, taxpayers may be able to deduct up to 100% of the cost of a new or pre-owned aircraft purchased after September 27, 2017 and placed in service before January 1, 2023. As of January 1, 2023, that deduction was reduced to 80%, and it will be reduced each year by 20% to depreciate qualified business aircraft until December 31, 2026.
Despite the deduction being reduced to 80% at the start of this year, ‘Transportation Property’ described in the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) §168(k)(2)(B) and ‘Certain Aircraft’ described in IRC §168(k)(2)(C) will have a one-year delay in the phasedown.
Thus, such property may still be eligible for 100% bonus depreciation if placed into service in 2023.
Table C depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2022-model Daher TBM 940 in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods. The price is as published in the June 2022 B&CA edition.
Table C: Daher TBM 940 MACRS Tax Depreciation Schedule
Table D depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2022-edition Epic E1000 GX in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods. The price is as published in the June 2022 B&CA edition.
Table D: Epic E1000 GX MACRS Tax Depreciation Schedule
Asking Prices & Quantity
At the time of writing, one TBM 940 was available for sale on the used aircraft market, displaying an asking price of $5.3m. There were no Epic E1000 GX pre-owned aircraft for sale.
While each aircraft serial number is unique, the Airframe Total Time (AFTT) and age/condition will cause great variation in the price of specific aircraft – even between two aircraft from the same year of manufacture.
The final negotiated price must ultimately be decided between the seller and buyer before the sale of an aircraft is completed.
The points in Chart E are centered on the same aircraft. Pricing used in the horizontal axis is as published in the June 2022 B&CA magazine. The productivity index requires further discussion in that the factors used can be somewhat arbitrary. Productivity can be defined (and it is here) as the multiple of three factors:
1. Full Fuel with available payload Range (nm).
2. The long-range cruise speed flown to achieve that range.
3. The cabin volume available for passengers and amenities.
Others may choose different parameters, but serious business aircraft buyers are usually impressed with price, range, speed, and cabin size.
Chart E: Daher TBM 940 vs Epic E1000 GX Productivity Comparison
The two turboprops featured here both offer great value within the single-engine turboprop market today. Prospective buyers should weigh up their mission needs carefully with respect to their exact requirements and what each model offers.
The Epic E1000 GX offers a lower price, lower operating costs, greater cabin volume and more ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’. However, the Daher TBM 940 provides more range and speed. Not factored in this comparison are the avionics available, which includes Garmin’s extremely sophisticated Autoland system in the case of the TBM 940.
There are other qualities such as airport performance, terminal area performance, and time-to-climb that might factor in a buying decision, but the information presented in this article should highlight that there is plenty for a prospective buyer to consider when deciding which performance criteria is better suited to them.
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