- Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association
- Chief Executive Officer
DAHER-SOCATA delivered its 500th TBM aircraft today, marking a key program milestone and underscoring the continuing demand for this very high speed turboprop transport in today's economic and operating environment.
The milestone aircraft with serial production number 500 is a TBM 850, which has been painted in a special gold and white color scheme at the request of its proud new owners - Dr. Ian Blair Fries and Susan Fries, who are President and Vice President, respectively, of the Wilmington, Delaware-based Airborne, Inc.
Keys to the TBM 850 were handed over to the Fries by Jean-Michel Léonard, the President of SOCATA and CEO of DAHER-SOCATA, during a ceremony at the factory in Tarbes, France. This TBM 850 is follow-on to the TBM 700 they previously owned.
Dr. Fries is a leading personality in the U.S. general aviation community. An active pilot, he has logged more than 5,000 flight hours, and holds an ATP license with a Certified Flight Instructor Instrument rating. Dr. Fries also is a senior aviation medical examiner who chairs the Aircraft Owners Pilot Association (AOPA) Medical Advisory Panel, and he sits on the AOPA Air Safety Foundation Board.
"The sadness at leaving our faithful TBM 700 is compensated by our pride and pleasure in receiving the new TBM 850, with its notable improvements that include gross weight and performance increases, and the new avionics," Dr. Fries said. "One of reasons that DAHER-SOCATA has been so successful is the superb service given to customers. Just one example is your willingness to customize the aircraft to please us."
"When the TBM program was launched more than 20 years ago, attaining the serial number 500 milestone was an ambition - now it's a reality," commented Nicolas Chabbert, the Senior Vice-President of DAHER-SOCATA General Aviation, and President of SOCATA North America. "We are very grateful to Dr. and Mrs. Fries who, in replacing their TBM 700, wanted to have this symbolic 500th aircraft."
Chabbert added the Fries' loyalty is very important to DAHER-SOCATA, and is a further endorsement of the company's dedication to customer service - which represents an important part of our business model.
"In this current economy, the TBM 850 is the best choice and the right alternative to business transportation needs of medium and small companies, and DAHER-SOCATA is totally committed to backing this aircraft with the best customer service possible," he said.
The TBM 850 is the world's fastest single engine turboprop, with a maximum cruising speed of 320 KTAS at 26,000 ft. (in ISA conditions). An 850-shp version of SOCATA's proven six-seat TBM 700 turboprop business aircraft, the TBM 850 combines the cruising speed and travel times typical of light jets with economical direct operating costs, while offering the range and excellent payload capacity of turboprop aircraft.
Source: DAHER-SOCATA delivers its 500th TBM-series aircraft
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