On opening day of the 2022 SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo, Daher unveiled its TBM 960, the latest high-end version of its TBM pressurized single turboprop aircraft family.
The first production airplane is on exhibit at SUN ‘n FUN, company officials noted.
The new TBM 960 features Pratt & Whitney Canada’s advanced PT6E-66XT engine and a fully digital e-throttle, along with a digitally-controlled cabin that incorporates a new environmental control system, LED ambience lighting, and electrically-dimmable windows, according to company officials.
“The TBM 960 is the quintessential TBM, representing the fifth evolution of our very fast turboprop aircraft family since the TBM 900-series’ introduction in 2014,” said Nicolas Chabbert, senior vice president of Daher’s Aircraft Division. “It takes the maximum advantage of today’s turboprop technology to provide digital control of the engine and the propeller.”
The TBM 960 retains the speed of the TBM family while enabling lower fuel consumption, company officials added. At the recommended cruise setting of 308 knots, fuel consumption is 57 U.S. gallons per hour, a 10% fuel economy compared to the maximum cruise setting, for more sustainability, they explained.
At the heart of this latest TBM version is Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PT6E-66XT powerplant and Hartzell Propeller’s five-blade Raptor composite propeller, company officials said, noting both are linked to a dual-channel digital Engine and Propeller Electronic Control System (EPECS).
With the EPECS, the PT6E-66XT’s startup is fully automated after a single-switch activation. The cockpit’s power lever is an e-throttle, using a single forward position from takeoff to landing, with the EPECS optimizing powerplant performance throughout the flight envelope while reducing pilot workload by integrating all functions and protecting the engine’s life, according to company officials. Analysis of engine parameters is driven by 100-plus smart data inputs.
The Raptor propeller is fully integrated into the propulsion system. It is specifically designed to reduce overall weight and improve the TBM 960’s takeoff distance, climb, and cruise speed, Daher officials said. Turning at 1,925 rpm during maximum power output, the Raptor contributes to limiting noise and vibration. Its sound level during takeoff is just 76.4 decibels, meeting the most stringent international noise standards, they added.
With its G3000 integrated flight deck, the TBM 960 retains Daher’s e-copilot concentration of safety systems in the TBM, which can be compared to an “electronic copilot,” company officials said. This includes an icing protection system, flight envelope monitoring through the Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP) and the Under-speed Protection (USP) systems, the Emergency Descent Mode (EDM) function, as well as the HomeSafe emergency autoland system.
New to the TBM 960 is the Garmin GWX 8000 doppler weather radar with advanced surveillance features such as lightning and hail prediction, turbulence detection, zero blind range for close-in returns, and ground clutter suppression. The TBM 960 also is the first application of Garmin’s GDL 60 next-generation data transmitter for automatic database upload and interconnection with mobile devices, Daher officials said.
The TBM 960 has been certified by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), with certification by the FAA underway. Deliveries will begin in the first half of 2022.