This year’s annual TBM Owners and Pilots Association (TBMOPA) convention, held Sept. 21-25 at the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona, brought together 305 participants and 101 Daher TBM aircraft —including five new TBM 930s, along with many TBM 900, TBM 850 and TBM 700 versions.
“The TBMOPA convention reflects the growth of the TBM fleet, which reached its 800th delivery just one week before the start of the 2016 convention,” noted Nicolas Chabbert, senior vice president of the Daher Airplane Business Unit. “Through the annual meetings, we are able to meet new owners who have acquired both factory-new and used aircraft, with many of them representing different backgrounds and profiles.”
Among the 2016 convention’s key speakers was Mark Baker, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA. Baker praised the actions of organizations such as TBMOPA in promoting safety and motivating pilots. He also reviewed AOPA’s ongoing efforts to attract, retain, and revive the overall pilot population through several of the association’s major initiatives.
Other featured speakers were Dr. Connie Mariano, who discussed her experience as director of the White House medical unit; and Tom Poberezny, the Experimental Aircraft Association’s President of Honor, speaking about “Aviation Intangibles,” along with the role of the EAA in growing and maintaining the pilot population. Colonel Rich Graham, a former SR-71 and U2 pilot, recounted his experience on these high-flying aircraft; while Julie Clark who spoke about her airline and airshow careers.
Pilot companions were offered activities at the event as well, including a drive-out picnic in the Arizona desert and the now-traditional “pinch hitter” flight training program designed for non-pilot companions.
Replacing Frank McKee as TBMOPA’s chairman is Howard Janzen, who is well acquainted with TBM aircraft —being an active pilot with 7,000 flight hours, including 3,700 hours on his TBM 700C2 prior to purchasing a TBM 900 in 2014. He is the CEO of Cool Planet Energy Systems, and has been a committed TBMOPA member since joining the association in 2006, fulfilling various positions as a member of the board of directors.
“This year’s TBMOPA convention marked another step in meeting our association’s goal of promoting safety and providing opportunities to maximize the pleasure and utility of the TBM ownership experience,” Janzen explained.
He noted that participation of TBMOPA members in the convention’s academic portion qualifies attendees for savings on insurance premiums.
“Participating underwriters recognize the value of the TBMOPA safety enhancement program and offer owners a credit for as much as 10% of the hull premium after a claim-free year,” Janzen added. “These insurance savings, plus the added safety awareness and operational knowledge gained from the technical seminars, are compelling reasons to attend the TBMOPA annual convention.”
The next TBMOPA annual convention will be held in San Antonio, Texas, Oct. 18-21, 2017.