Aircraft Review

April 2012 Issue

TBM 850: Fast, Comfortable, Manageable

For a 300-knot-plus turboprop, the TBM is remarkably easy to operate, although most pilots will let the autopilot do the work. Five years of free maintenance sweetens the deal.

When you put a sharp pencil to it, a 20-knot speed advantage for one airplane over another really isn’t squat. It amounts to 12 minutes on a 500-mile trip. But how about 50 knots or even 100? On a 1000-mile trip, that’s the difference between landing just in time for dinner or arriving early enough for a round of golf and cocktails. Above 300-knots cruise speed, the space-time scale shifts and that’s where the Daher-SOCATA TBM850 lives. The airplane is a no-apologies, uncompromised high-altitude personal transportation aircraft that enjoys, if not high-volume sales, a loyal following and an improved market thanks to the lukewarm blooming of the very light jet market.

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