Day one of the Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo in Lakeland, Florida, started out on a high note as Daher raised the curtain on the latest version of its TBM aircraft - the TBM 960.
Replacing the TBM 940, the fifth TBM evolution will offer upgrades and all-new features, including a Pratt andamp; Whitney Canada PT6E-66XT engine, digital e-throttle, and digitally controlled cabin.
Daher is exhibiting the first production TBM 960 turboprop at the week-long aviation event. With the new aircraft's launch, the TBM family will now only be offered in two versions: TBM 960 and TBM 910.
At the manufacturer's recommended cruise speed of 308 kts., the fuel consumption is only 57 gallons per hour, a 10% fuel economy compared to the maximum cruise setting for more sustainability.
The TBM 960 has already received EASA certification and the FAA is in the process of certifying the aircraft. Daher said the deliveries will begin in the first half of the year.
"The TBM 960 is a quintessential TBM, representing the fifth evolution of our very fast turboprop aircraft family since the TBM 900-series' introduction in 2014," said Nicolas Chabbert, Senior Vice President of Daher's Aircraft Division. "It takes the maximum advantage of today's turboprop technology to provide digital control of the engine and the propeller."
The TBM 960 powerplant reduces pilot workload and scheduled maintenance
Purpose-built for Daher's latest TBM version, the PT6E-66XT powerplant sits at the heart of the aircraft with Hartzell's five-blade Raptor composite propeller, both of which are linked to the dual-channel digital Engine and Propeller Electronic Control System (EPECS).
The PT6-E series is the first engine family with a dual-channel integrated electronic propeller and engine control system in the general aviation turboprop market.
With the EPECS, the engine's startup is fully automated after a single-switch activation. The cockpit's power lever is an e-throttle, using a single forward position from takeoff to landing - with the EPECS optimizing powerplant performance during the flight while reducing pilot workload by integrating all functions and protecting the engine's life.
Scheduled maintenances intervals have also been increased, with time between engine overhauls increasing to 5,000 hours. Additionally, with the electronic control system removing hardware from the engine, scheduled maintenance is reduced by nearly 40%.
Hartzell Raptor propeller decreases noise pollution
The Raptor propeller is fully integrated into the propulsion system. It is designed to reduce the overall weight and improve the TBM 960's takeoff distance, climb and cruise speed.
Turning at 1,925 rpm during maximum power output, the Raptor helps to limit the aircraft's noise and vibration.
Its sound level during takeoff is only 76.4 decibels, which is similar to the noise output of the previous TBM 940.
Garmin G3000 flight deck offered on the TBM 960
With its Garmin G3000 integrated flight deck, the TBM 960 features a slew of safety systems, including icing protection, flight envelope monitoring through Electronic Stability and Under-speed Protection, Emergency Descent Mode function, and the HomeSafe emergency autoland system.
New to the TBM lineup is the Garmin GWX 8000 doppler weather radar and surveillance features such as lightning and hail prediction, turbulence detection, zero blind range for close-in returns, and ground clutter suppression.
The TBM 960 will be the first application of Garmin's GDL 60 data transmitter for automatic database upload and interconnection with mobile devices.
TBM 960 interior and exterior get upgrades
The digital power extends inside the aircraft as well, with the TBM 960 cabin featuring an all-new environmental control system, LED ambience strip lighting, and electronically-dimmable windows.
For those concerned about comfort, the interior will include ergonomically enhanced seats, USB-A and -C power plugs, individual cupholders, and headset hangars.
An all-new paint scheme will be available on the fifth TBM. Called Sirocco, it will be based on the creativity of French designer Alexandre Echasseriau.