Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Let's Go To Jamaica, Mon!

The TBMOPA demonstrates the real value of type clubs

Businessman John Springthorpe takes advantage of the TBM's speed in his business. "I can go to our office in Mobile and be home for dinner—I beat the airlines," Springthorpe said with a smile. "Before I bought my TBM, I flew the Meridian and I flew the PC-12, but the TBM just felt right. For me, this is the perfect plane."

"It's the only airplane I'll ever buy from now on," said Steve Walenz, TBMOPA president. "I had a Baron first, but then I sold my business in 2007. Within 30 days, I had my first TBM. Later, I sold that one and even made money on the deal," a testament to the French's airplane's strong aftermarket values.

"When you look at the Blue Book values, you'll see that the very first TBM sold is reselling for about what it sold for new in 1990," Walenz said. "You don't get that kind of market staying power with every airplane."

"These are the consummate TBM owners," Mike Sarsafield, a TBM sales representative who accompanied the group on their Jamaica adventure, said. "This airplane is very heavily owner flown. Our owners transition from planes like the Cirrus SR22, or they are repeat customers."

The upgrade from a piston-engine general aviation aircraft to the TBM isn't a bridge too far. Sarsafield says that new TBM owners who are slight on turbine experience will likely get to spend some time flying with a mentor pilot in the right seat. As part of the package when you buy a new TBM, Socata includes the complete transition training.

"That plus the experience with the mentor pilot works out real well for most guys," Butch Stevens nods.

Other than speed, pilots also are attracted to the TBM's range (the 850 has a range of just over 1,500 nm with reserves) and how well the aircraft is built. "It's not unusual to have zero squawks in between 100-hour inspections," added Sarsafield.


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