Daher recently unveiled the latest high-end version of its TBM pressurized single turboprop aircraft family – the TBM 960 – which incorporates Pratt & Whitney Canada’s advanced PT6E-66XT engine and a fully digital e-throttle, along with a digitally-controlled cabin that incorporates an all-new environmental control system, LED ambience lighting and electrically-dimmable windows. The TBM 960 was introduced at the Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo in Lakeland, Florida, where Daher is exhibiting the first production aircraft.
“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,” commented Nicolas Chabbert, the 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 rapid speed of Daher’s TBM family while enabling lower fuel consumption. At Daher’s recommended cruise setting of 308 kts., the fuel consumption is only 57 U.S. gallons per hour, which is a 10% fuel economy compared to the maximum cruise setting for more sustainability. At the heart of this latest TBM version is the intelligent PT6E-66XT powerplant and Hartzell Propeller’s five-blade Raptor™ composite propeller, both of which are linked to the dual-channel digital Engine and Propeller Electronic Control System (EPECS).
With the EPECS, the PT6E-66XT’s start-up 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. 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 take-off distance, climb and cruise speed. 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.
With its G3000® integrated flight deck, the TBM 960 retains Daher’s e-copilot® concentration of technological innovation and safety systems in the TBM, which can be compared to an “electronic copilot.” 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 game-changing 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 equipped with Garmin’s 4G LTE/WiFi datalink transmitter, enabling automatic database upload and flight/engine data log uploading.
The TBM 960’s Prestige cabin extends Daher’s use of digital power inside the aircraft, featuring an all-new environmental control system, LED ambience strip lighting integrated into both sides of the overhead ceiling panel, and electronically-dimmable windows – all controlled by a Passenger Comfort Display (PCD). Enhancements in the cabin’s style and comfort also include new ergonomically enhanced seats, USB-A and USB-C power plugs, individual cupholders and headset hangers for each occupant.
For the TBM 960, a fifth TBM paint scheme – called Sirocco, based on the creativity of French designer Alexandre Echasseriau – has been added to the aircraft’s style customization possibilities. The TBM 960 has been certified by EASA (the European Union Aviation Safety Agency); with certification by the U.S. FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) currently underway. Deliveries will begin in the first half of 2022. With the new aircraft’s launch, Daher’s TBM family is now offered in two versions: the TBM 960 and TBM 910.