EADS Socata's TBM 850 Goes Garmin in a Bigger Way

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If your company already has what it claims as the world's fastest single-engine turboprop, what do you do to improve it and keep it competitive? New paint; new interior; drop the price? If you're EADS Socata, and the airplane is the faster-than-your-propeller-airplane TBM 850, the correct answer is "none of the above." Instead, you upgrade its avionics from a traditional Garmin 430/530 package and go full-boat with the Kansas manufacturer's G1000 integrated panel. "Two years ago, our customers asked us for more speed," said Jean-Michel Léonard, EADS Socata's CEO, referring to his company's decision to transform its successful TBM 700 into the 850. "We continue to listen to their needs, and as a result, we have taken the next step with the integrated cockpit panel -- which will ease pilot workload, save weight and reduce the cost of ownership. Playing with the TBM 850's known reliability was not an option, and we wanted a solid and fully integrated solution," Léonard added.

According to Garmin, the G1000 package it will provide for the TBM 850 presents all flight-critical data -- engine and flight instrumentation, plus navigation, communication, weather, terrain and traffic data -- on three large-format, high-resolution displays. Specific features of the G1000 installation in the TBM 850 include:

  • Three-axis, all-digital automatic flight control system.
  • WAAS-certified IFR and oceanic-approved GPS navigation along with the 8.33-kHz channel spacing necessary in Europe.
  • Dual RVSM-compliant digital air-data computers.
  • Mode S transponder with Traffic Information Service.
  • Class-B Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) with worldwide terrain and obstacle database.

The G1000-equipped TBM 850 also will graphically depict airframe, electrical and fuel system synoptics data on the G1000's Multi-Function Display (MFD). EADS Socata says the company's program to certify the G1000 in its TBM 850 is now underway; timing for the introduction of G1000-equipped TBM 850s will be detailed next year. The TBM 850 features a maximum cruising speed of 320 KTAS at 26,000 ft.