The SOCATA TBM (now produced by Daher) is a family of single engine turboprop aircraft intended for use by VIPs and for utility purposes. The TBM was a joint venture between SOCATA and Mooney to develop a turboprop aircraft based on the Mooney 301. A new company known as TBM International was created in 1987 to oversee the development, with TB standing to Tarbes, the home city of SOCATA and the M standing for Mooney. The first aircraft in the range, the TBM700 first flew in 1988 and received type certification in 1990 with the first production batch already being sold out. Mooney then went on to withdraw from TBM International in 1991 leaving SOCATA as the sole manufacturer.
To date, the French have been the only military customer for the TBM series of aircraft with the TBM700 being operated by both the Air and Space Force and the Army. Both branches of the French military operate the type as VIP and utility transport aircraft and have a combined fleet of 23 aircraft.
The French Air and Space Force will be providing one of their TBM700s for static display at this year's Air Tattoo. The aircraft will be provided by ET41 "Verdun" based at Villacoublay/Vélizy Air Base.
Photo Credit: RIAT Volunteer
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