South Florida businessman Johnie Weems got a bonus experience with the purchase of his Daher TBM 960 turboprop single. Not only did he achieve notoriety for taking delivery the 20th example of the latest TBM iteration, but he also got to fly his new airplane across the Atlantic from Daher’s factory in Tarbes, France, accompanied by legendary ferry pilot Margrit Waltz.
“This was truly an amazing experience and an eye-opener as to the capabilities of the TBM,” he said. “I was amazed at how simple the TBM 960 made the crossing.” For one thing, without sacrificing performance compared with previous versions of Daher’s TBM 900-series aircraft, new-design digital engine controls enable the TBM 960 to fly with more precise settings. That results in a 10 percent improvement in fuel economy at Daher’s recommended cruise setting of 308 knots—down to 57 U.S. gallons per hour.
Weems has owned three previous TBMs, and of the 20 TBM 960s delivered so far, 17 have made the same Atlantic crossing to North American owners. Current demand is strong, according to Daher. Nicolas Chabbert, senior vice president of Daher’s aircraft division, said, “We’re nearly fully booked for 2023, with a significant percentage of these orders coming from customers in North America and Europe.”