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Daher (SOCATA) TBM series

The TBM series is a family of single engine turboprop aircraft, with the engine mounted in the nose. Originally, it was developed by SOCATA of France and Mooney of the USA, hence the designation TBM. It started with the TBM-700, but later versions bear different marketing names. It is similar in appearance to the Epic LT, the Kestrel JP10, Myasishchev M-101T Gzhel and the Piper Malibu Meridian. The TBM is characterised by a single air intake below the prop spinner, rectangular cabin windows (more high than wide), horizontal stabiliser placed aft of the vertical stabiliser and slightly dropped cockpit side windows.

The cockpit side window is one of the main recognition points of the TBM series. Also note the location of the air intake and long nose gear doors.

The horizontal stabiliser is attached to the fuselage behind the vertical stabiliser, further aft then on comparable aircraft.

Different versions

The different versions of the TBM series can be recognised by:

  • the shape of the cowling
  • the number of propeller blades
  • the presence of winglets
  • the width of the entrance door
  • the shape of the main landing gear doors

TBM-700A

The first version has a relatively narrow entrance door behind the wings. It also has four cabin windows on the left side. This version has no winglets and single piece main landing gear doors. Normally, it has a four-bladed prop, but it can be modified with a five-bladed propeller.

The outline of the 'regular' entrance door and four cabin windows are clearly visible on this photo of a TBM-700A.

Early models of the TBM-700, including the TBM-700A, have main landing gear doors consisting of a single piece.

TBM-700B

Compared to the TBM-700A, the B version has a wider entrance door. To make room it only has three cabin windows at the port side. For a photo see the TBM-700C2 below.

From the right side you cannot distinguish this TBM-700B from a TBM-700A, as the difference is in the entrance door on the left.

TBM-700C1 & TBM-700C2

When the TBM-700B is modified with a rear unpressurised cargo compartment, reinforced structure, new air conditioning system and other changes, you get a TBM-700C1. The C2 variant is the same, except that it has a higher certified max take-off weight.

This photo of a TBM-700C2 shows the open wide entrance door with a single cabin window, that is standard on all models except the TBM-700A.

TBM-850 (TBM-700N)

This version, based on the C2 subtype, has a different engine uprated to 850 hp, hence the marketing name TBM-850. However, because of the commonality with the earlier versions and to save certification costs, it is certificated as TBM-700N. Theer are no external differences compared to the TBM-700B, C1 and C2 though. 

TBM-900, TBM-910, TBM-930 & TBM-940 (TBM-700N)

The TBM-900 has an engine providing 900 hp, hence the marketing name TBM-900, but it is also certificated as TBM-700N. Compared to the TBM-850 it has a five-bladed prop as standard (but retrofits are available, so beware) and winglets. Also the nose is different: there is now some space between the prop spinner and the air intake, and there are large cooler inlets below the exhausts. Finally, the TBM-900 has an inner main landing gear door, next to the wheel, so it consists of two parts.

TBM-910 is the marketing name for a TBM-900 with a Garmin G1000 avionics suite. The TBM-930 has the Garmin G3000, while the TBM-940 is a further update of the 930 with autothrottle and auto de-cing. On the outside there are no differences though.

A full view of a TBM-930 showing the winglets, redesigned nose/cowling, different main landing gear doors and curved five-bladed prop.

The TBM-900 series have small winglets, shown here in detail.

From the front you can better see the dropped intake channel, resulting in a space between the intake and spinner, typical for the TBM-900 series.

The main landing gear doors of the TBM-900 have two parts sliding over each other when the gear is extended.

Confusion possible with

Myasishchev M-101T Gzhel

m 101t

This Russian single engine turboprop is similar in appearance to the TBM series. Even the cockpit side window looks much like that of the TBM. Look at the engine cowling, three cabin windows and small nose gear doors to recognise the M-101T.

Aero Vodochody Ae270

ae270hp

The Ae270 looks a bit like a stretched TBM-700 with winglets. It is a bit bigger, has small winglets and six cockpit windows (instead of four).

Piper PA-46 Malibu Meridian

pa 46 500tp

The PA-46 Malibu Meridian (currently M500/M600) is Pipers entry in the single turboprop class. It can be distinguished from the similar TBM series mainly by the larger, rectangular cabin windows (wider than high), but also by the air intake(s).

Comp-Air 12

comp air 12

This single engine turboprop has winglets, two large exhausts under the nose and a higher placed stabilo. That should be enough to avoid a mix-up with the TBM.

Epic LT/E1000

epic lt

The Epic LT has two very characteristic curved cockpit windows and (nearly) round cabin windows. Also notice the nicely curved leading edge of the vertical stabiliser.

Farnborough F1

farnborough f1

The Farnborough F1 (a.k.a. Kestrel JP10 and One Aviation K-350) is very similar to the Epic LT. Both have two very characteristic curved cockpit windows and (nearly) round cabin windows.