Used Aircraft Guide

June 2011 Issue

Used Aircraft Guide: Socata TB-20 Trinidad

It may not be the fastest airplane to sport a six-cylinder Lycoming, but on pure style points, it has no equal.

When the so-called Caribbean line from Aerospatiale first appeared at the Paris Air Show in 1977, the U.S. general aviation industry was booming, building mainly tried-and-true, if staid, designs like the Cessna 172 and the Piper Cherokee line. Against that backdrop, the new TB-20 was a splash of cold water. It’s not that the airplane was terribly innovative—it wasn’t, sporting the same Lycoming engines we had all been flying behind for years. But it had something no Skyhawk ever did: a sleek and stylish European panache. Ultimately, this didn’t help much with sales, but the thing sure was—and is—good looking, what one aviation writer famously described as a Cherokee done over by Club Med. The Trinidad is the top of the line of a small family (five) of single-engine aircraft developed and built by Socata in Tarbes, France, from which the TB derives.

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