Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Turning Airpark Dreams Into Lifestyle Realities


The Daher-Socata TBM 850 Elite


The FAA and EASA allowed Socata to raise the TBM's stall speed from 60 to 65 knots and its gross weight to 7,430 pounds in exchange for enhanced crashworthiness, which included the installation of 20G seats.

You can be underway quickly with just one fuel tank on each side to sump, and a fuel filter bypass under the nose to check, a built-in mirror and light simplifying its preflight inspection.

The split cowl provides access to visually check the engine and fluid levels, and to be impressed by the thick engine mounts and titanium firewall. A four-blade Hartzell HC-E4N-3 propeller is out front.

Inside, the cabin has all the amenities a light business jet passenger would expect: foldout table, leather seats with stowable armrests, individual lights and air vents, Bluetooth capability and ample legroom as a bonus. The relatively large windows (seven today from the original six) add to its spacious feeling.

The cabin area also has its own environmental control, thanks to a dual evaporator system, allowing passengers to set their own cabin temperature. But this is primarily an owner-flown aircraft, and most buyers will be sitting in the front left seat.

Both cockpit seats are fully adjustable, and the flight deck feels calm and uncluttered, the panel framing the three monitors of its Garmin G1000 avionics suite (two 10.4-inch PFDs flanking the center-mounted 15-inch MFD), standard in the TBM since 2008. "Ninety percent of the people I put in an airplane know more about the G1000 than I do," Sarsfield said.

Fully integrated with the aircraft, the G1000 monitors and/or commands all aspects of the TBM's operation, from the avionics and engine to pressurization system and the optional Iridium Satcom transceiver that provides worldwide voice telephony and datalink. The Satphone could ensure that pilots at airparks with spotty cell coverage can reach the Flight Service's dedicated nationwide cell phone Clearance Delivery Line at (888)766-8267 to pick up a clearance at non-towered airports.

Getting Underway
With a machine this sophisticated, you start the airplane, not just the engine. Sarsfield uses a flow pattern on the instrument and overhead panels to ensure switches are in proper position.

Next, engage the start button and monitor torque and temperature on the display screen, and work the condition lever as the turbine comes up to 50%, which is its "started" state.



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