TBM Owners and Pilots Association 2014 convention still rising


DAHER-SOCATA and the TBM Owners and Pilots Association (TBMOPA) announced that the 2014 annual TBMOPA convention broke another attendance record with the presence of more than 100 TBM 700s and TBM 850s, along with several brand-new TBM 900s.

Attracting almost a quarter of the entire TBM fleet in North America, this became the largest fly-in convention dedicated to a single-engine turbine aircraft or small private jet – registering an increase in attendance of three percent from last year. The 2014 TBMOPA Convention was held from October 29 to November 1 in historic meeting included three days of dynamic academic sessions customized for the TBM aircraft family, featuring presentations by industry leaders and DAHER-SOCATA, as well as TBM system vendors such as Pratt and Whitney, Canada.

Among the speakers were Jerry Cockrell, whose discussion was entitled: “How to Exercise Poor Judgment and Survive;” Earl F. Weener, a Member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), speaking on general aviation safety; and Bill Panarello, addressing characteristics of the TBM radar system. The guest speaker was U.S. Air Force Capt. Brian Udell, who recounted how he bailed out of his F15 fighter aircraft at over 800 mph. As with the association’s previous annual conventions, participation in the technical sessions qualified members for savings on insurance premiums that are exclusive to TBMOPA. Pilot companions were offered activities at the event as well, including a visit to Oak Alley plantation – a preserved historic mansion of the Old South’s golden age – as well as a “pinch hitter” flight training program designed for non-pilot companions.

“The 2014 TBMOPA convention marked our best turnout to date, and enabled the TBMOPA ‘family’ to take part in much appreciated safety seminars and sessions relating to operational techniques,” explained Frank McKee, the Chairman and Director of TBMOPA. “Once again, our annual event offered an excellent way for owners to learn and socialize with each other, to meet with vendors, and talk with personnel from DAHER-SOCATA. The social events encouraged further discussions about flying and offered the means to develop friendships.” McKee expressed his appreciation to vendors who provided support and financial contributions for the TBMOPA’s charitable foundation. In 2014, more than $100,000 was raised to provide, among other things, scholarships for disabled veterans to learn to fly through the non-profit Able Flight association.

Stephane Mayer, DAHER-SOCATA’s President and CEO, took the opportunity of a U.S.-bound TBM 900 ferry flight to join the convention. He said the TBM 900’s recent introduction as the latest TBM aircraft family member has raised interest throughout the aviation community, which was reflected in the presence of newcomers at this year’s event “These new attendees share the passion for aviation, and are welcomed to join the TBM community,” he added. “Overall, the TBMOPA team’s excellent work once again resulted in a series of top-quality events for the organization’s annual conventions, which attract increasingly large audiences.” Nicolas Chabbert, Senior Vice President of the DAHER-SOCATA Airplane Business Unit, said the 2014 TBMOPA convention was very well managed by the TBMOPA team, under the direction of Frank McKee, assisted by Bill Alberts and Andrew Knott. “This 11th TBMOPA Convention continued the event’s ascension, and was remarkable by its professional organization and the camaraderie of the owners who attended,” Chabbert concluded.

The 2015 TBMOPA Owners Convention is scheduled for October 7-11 in Charleston, South Carolina.