Tue, Feb 17, 2009
By any measure, 2008 was a successful one for the company
formerly known as EADS Socata.
The year ended with the company in the hands of new ownership,
with European equipment and services supplier Daher purchasing a
majority stake in the planemaker. The new owners came in just as
Socata posted another record year for sales of the stunning TBM 850
turboprop, an aircraft marketed squarely at private and corporate
pilots who want jet-like speed, but with the efficiency of a single
PT6 pulling the aircraft through the flight levels.
Indeed, the TBM 850 seems to answer the same questions some
very-light manufacturers once boldly proclaimed their products
could answer better than any aircraft with a propeller attached...
and it's also worth noting the TBM line shows no signs of
disappearing anytime soon. But that doesn't mean Socata is sitting
idly by, resting on its TBM 850 laurels.
At NBAA 2008 last October, Socata unveiled a few tantalizing
details about its upcoming "NTx" twin-engine aircraft. And we do
mean "few"... as apart from that twin-engine configuration, company
officials provided little hard information yet on the new
So far, we know only that it will be larger than the company's
successful TBM 850, and "aims at completing Socata's range on the
upper end" while also sporting "greater useful load, more payload
capability and a bigger cabin than the TBM 850."
Even powerplant applications are nebulous are this point... as
Socata didn't say whether the NTx will be a turbofan-powered
aircraft, or a twin turboprop.
Aero-TV spent some time with Socata's VP of Sales and Marketing,
Nicolas Chabbert, to talk both about the success of the TBM 850,
and to try to seek out some more details about that "other"
aircraft that's in the works...
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