Wed, Jul 25, 2007
CEO Jean-Michel Leonard Challenges VLJs
On Tuesday, EADS Socata's new CEO Jean-Michel Leonard made his
first appearance at Oshkosh since joining the company June 13...
and he was quick to defend his company's turf amongst the
announcements of very light jets out of Cirrus and Eclipse.
"I just wonder what's rational and what's fashion," Leonard
Leonard believes his TBM 850 offers what the VLJ customers are
looking for. The aircraft has the best payload/range capacity of
any in it's class, according to Leonard. He put forth the logbook
of 60 delivered aircraft and 70 orders currently in backlog as an
argument for the success of the TBM 850, adding the aircraft can do
a top speed of 320kts.
The current price tag on the TBM 850 is $2.85 million... on par
with a Cessna Citation Mustang.
While Leonard might be a new-comer to the General Aviation
world, he does have substantial experience in turbo-prop aircraft.
Prior to joining Socata, Leonard held positions as CEO and later
Chairman of France-based ATR, a company renowned for their twin
turbo-prop commercial passenger aircraft.
Two representatives of Socata were also featured at Tuesday's
conference. Twenty-one year-old Ashley Leman and 19-year-old John
Staines are participants in EAA's "Young Eagles" Internship
Leman and Staines had the opportunity to not only work with
Socata on the TBM 850 program for five weeks; they also had a
chance to visit the Paris Air Show and tour Airbus in Toulouse,
"It's been awesome. This has been one of the greatest
experiences of my life," Staines told press at Oshkosh.
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