First it was a rumor, then it was a confirmed rumor and now it has a name. Socata announced at the National Business Aviation Association Convention that it will build a twin-engine aircraft and has given the project the code name NTx. "As business aviation is a small community where it's difficult to keep a secret for a long time, I am pleased to confirm that our engineering team is actively working on a new aircraft project," Socata CEO Jean-Michel Leonard told a Monday news conference. He said the twin will be bigger, with more useful load than the turboprop single TBM 850, but stops short of confirming that the new aircraft will have propellers. "Powerplant applications for the NTx are still under discussion," the company news release says.
The company is apparently fairly advanced in its plans and is hoping to formally launch the program in 2009. Few details on performance and other specs are being released, and there is no image of the proposed aircraft.