Daher Socata will make a decision by the end of the year on whether to proceed with plans to build a twin-engine business aircraft. At a news conference Tuesday at AirVenture Oshkosh, CEO Nicholas Chabbert told reporters that advanced technical design is under way but the project will hinge on the availability of capital and market demand. Chabbert said that when the proposal was first floated, the company stressed that it would not rush into something that didn't make sense and the discussion about those factors is going on now. The company has also never specified whether the aircraft will have turboprop or pure jet engines. Meanwhile, the company is hoping to build 40 of its flagship TBM 850 turboprop singles this year.
Chabbert said the company delivered 60 aircraft last year, it's best ever, and has historically averaged about 30 units a year. The company recently delivered its 500th TBM to Dr. Ian Blair Fries and his wife, Susan, and it's on display at the Socata booth at Oshkosh. The company also used its news conference to introduce the two Young Eagles interns who spent part of the summer working at Socata's Tarbes, France, headquarters. Karl Parsons, of Prescott, Ariz., worked in the engineering department investigating possible retrofit applications for the TBM 700 and Irene Trujillo, of Albuquerque, N.M., worked on a customer service development project.