countdown clock in their booth at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2010.
Photo by Mariano Rosales
Daher-Socata, maker of the very fast TBM
850 turboprop single, started a 365-day clock at its exhibit on Tuesday
to count down its 100th anniversary celebration that will be held at
Oshkosh next year.
The French aerospace company is the
oldest airplane maker in the world, dating back to Morane-Saulnier,
which built its first airplane in 1911.
Morane-Saulnier was one of the early
builders of monoplanes and figured out what would be the dominant
configuration by putting the engine in the nose and tail at the aft end.
At the time others were experimenting with all sorts of configurations
that would eventually prove to be less versatile and efficient.
Through the 99 years that followed the
founding of Morane-Saulnier the company remained in continuous
production but under several different names as ownership changed. In
the modern era the company was part of Aerospatiale and later became
Daher acquired the company in 2009.
Under its several names the company had
many aviation firsts, including building the first very light business
jet, the Paris Jet, in the 1960s. It also created the TB series of
piston singles that include the Tampico and Trinidad.
One of its most successful designs in the
past many years is the TBM turboprop single. Daher-Socata has already
delivered 200 of its TBM 850 model since it was introduced in 2006.
Overall, 524 TBMs have been built.
Demand for the TBM 850 remains steady and
the company is working with a reasonable backlog given the difficulties
of the economy. Less than 10 percent of the TBM fleet is for sale which
is substantially lower than most airplanes in the turbine fleet.
Daher promises to make continuous
improvements in the design while it studies a new model for the future.
The new airplane will have twin engines,
but engine selection and final design parameters have not been set. And
Daher is really comfortable working to aviation standards as its other
businesses are supplying structures and components for the defense,
aerospace, and nuclear power industries.
Not much margin for error in any of those
Daher-Socata expects most improvements in
the 850 over the next few years to be in the cockpit with new avionics
capabilities. It added Garmin synthetic vision technology last year and
will now make data logging capabilities available.
The Garmin system will log all parameters
of engine performance including any limits that are exceeded. The
continuous and detailed monitoring holds promise for more effective
maintenance procedures, and possibly longer engine life.
Daher-Socata is expanding its work to
include updating existing airplanes, particularly the TBM 700. Approval
to install the G1000 system in the 700 is expected later this year.
It was only seven years ago that we were
celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first powered flight and next
year here at Oshkosh everyone is invited to the party for the oldest