The TBM-700 is a high performance single engine turboprop powered light business and corporate transport.
The TBM-700 is mainly optimised as a business transport in competition with established twin turboprops, mainly Beech's C90 King Air series. Unlike the similarly sized C90 King Airs though, the TBM-700's single engine layout is a major conceptual difference. With its single PT6 turboprop, rather than two on the King Air, the TBM-700 offers significantly lower operating costs yet comparable performance.
The TBM-700 was originally developed in partnership between Socata (Aerospatiale's General Aviation division) in France and Mooney in the USA, hence the TBM designation. The two companies formed TBM SA to build and market the TBM-700, with development responsibility for the project divided on a 70/30 basis between Socata and Mooney respectively.
The first of three TBM-700 prototypes first flew on July 14 1988. French certification was granted in January 1990. Shortly after the delivery of the first production aircraft in December 1990, Mooney withdrew from the program, leaving Socata with full responsibility for the aircraft.
The pressurised TBM-700 is of conventional design and construction, with a small amount of composite materials used in some areas. Flight controls, flaps and most of the empennage and fin are made from Nomex honeycomb and metal sheets. Leading edges and undercarriage doors meanwhile are made from a carbon and fibreglass composite. Entry to the cabin is through a split upward/downward opening door in the rear port fuselage.
Apart from the base aircraft the TBM-700 is offered as the TBM-700C freighter with a freight door and separate port side cockpit door. Development of the stretched TBM-700S ceased in 1995.
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