Pilot Journal
Thursday, March 1, 2007

TBM 850 Scorching The Airways With Style

Meet Socata’s answer to the very light jet

tbm 850Whoa, the simulator at SimCom never accelerated like this! I’ve just advanced the throttle of N850LA, a brand-new EADS Socata TBM 850 with barely 100 hours, and I feel like I’ve floored the gas pedal in a candy-apple red 1969 Chevy Camaro with a big-block V8. Sure, the sound is different, but I’m pinned to my seat all the same." />

Indeed, it was hard to find fault with the TBM 850 besides an electronic attitude indicator that slightly washed out in bright, direct sun and an armrest for the pilot’s left arm that could be a good five inches higher. I’d also love a more precise way to manually fine-tune my altitude in small increments while on autopilot, as is possible with the S-TEC 55X. These days, aesthetics and ergonomics also play a big role in aircraft design, and the folks at Socata hit the “looks” nail on the head, as the TBM 850 is one sexy and fashionable airplane. Its capability also turns heads, as its balance of short-field performance, its ability to stretch its legs like a VLJ in both speed and range, and its relatively simple single-pilot operation make the TBM 850 an extraordinarily compelling aircraft. I want one.

Contacts: SimCom, www.panamacademy.com, (800) 272-0211; EADS Socata, www.socata.eads.net, (954) 893-1400.

Labels: Turboprops


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