TBM 900/930: Buyer’s and Investor’s guide
A capable aircraft that claims the title for the fastest single engine turboprop, whilst having the ability to carry out more difficult missions. Loved by owner pilots.
A cabin that is outperformed by the competition. The list price for the 930 variant is high for only minor upgrades.
The TBM 900 and 930 are the latest aircraft to come out of Daher, which are currently the world’s fastest certified single turboprop aircraft in the market. Although not the most luxurious turboprop available, the TBM 900 series is a very rugged and capable platform.
The TBM 900’s selling point is speed. The ability to cruise at 330kts places it in the same category light jets – cruising at just 10kts/19kmh slower than the Citation Mustang – an impressive achievement for a single turboprop aircraft. With a range of 1730nm/3203km, the TBM outperforms the Citation Mustang (1200nm/222km), however the PC-12NG gets an extra 115nm/212km further than the TBM 900.
Both the 900 and 930 have seen some aerodynamic changes from their predecessors – most notably an improved and stronger airframe design as well as 2ft high winglets – reducing drag and increasing stability at slow speeds.
With a minimum take off length of 2380ft and Daher claiming only 1500ft needed to land, the TBM 900 is a versatile machine. This makes the TBM 900/930 an attractive proposition, as it is able to fly into small airstrips with ease. The PC-12NG, Citation Mustang and King Air C90GTx all struggle to match this performance, with them all requiring over 2100ft/640m to land. Being able to match the performance of a light jet, whilst still enjoying the usage of small airfields is a unique position to be in the market.
Cabins sell planes, which is a disadvantage for Daher. A width of 3ft 4inches and a height of 4ft leaves the cabin feeling small and cramped. The King Air 350GTx has an extra 8inches of headroom, and is 6inches wider which makes a substantial difference to passenger comfort. It is a similar story with the PC-12NG, Cessna Caravan and Citation Mustang, who all dwarf the TBM 900/930 cabin.
Whilst the TBM 900/930 does offer some interior luxuries such as top grain leather to cover the Malherbe Design studio’s crafted seats, competitor’s interiors feel more substantial, and aimed more towards business travel than the TBM 900/930.
However you look at it, the TBM cabin is not a selling point. But pilots love it.
The TBM 900 has proved to be one of Daher’s most popular aircraft, with over 100 being delivered – 55 of which were delivered in 2015. TBM offers a care program alongside the purchase of a new 900 or 930, providing complementary maintenance and annual inspections for the first five years or 1,000 operation hours. Although this isn’t anything you wouldn’t get from other manufacturers, it shows a good level of customer support – even though the TBM 900 is a reliable platform.
The TBM 900 and 930 vary slightly, with the 930 being the more high-tech variant. The 930’s largest enhancement is to the avionics – most notably a Garmin 3000 touchscreen in the cockpit. Performance is unchanged for the 930, with no upgraded cabin either. The extra $400,000 ($4.1 million compared to $3.7 million for the 900) is a large price to pay for the additional equipment.
The pre-owned market for the TBM 900 and 930 is fairly quiet, but it would be surprising if the 930 retained its additional value.
Both variants are reasonably priced in the market. List price for a Citation Mustang is slightly cheaper at $2.7million, however running costs will be higher. The PC-12 NG base model is $4 million, making the TBM 900/930 one of the cheaper options in the market.
The turboprop market is an evolving one, with Pilatus’ PC-12 getting a new generation treatment and the Epic E1000 expected to directly compete with the TBM 900 with the initial deliveries forecast for 2017.
The TBM is a capable aircraft, with the ability to complete missions that its competitors can’t. On more routine journeys however, the TBM 900 and 930 can’t offer the same level of comfort or class as competitors – something which buyers may find disappointing after spending $3.7million.
Maximum speed: 330kts/380mph/611kmh/Mach 0.49
Typical passengers: 6
List price: TBM 900: $3.7 million
TBM 930: $4.1 million
Competitor aircraft: Pilatus PC-12NG, Cessna Citation Mustang, King Air 350GTx, Piaggio Avanti EVO