Daher-Socata, the French maker of the TBM 850 turboprop single, plans to decide by the end of the year whether to add the Grob SPn composite business jet to its product portfolio or instead start from scratch with a bizjet design of its own.
Launched in 2005, the Grob SPn was well along in certification flight testing when the crash of one of the prototypes and the economic downturn conspired to force the German company into insolvency. Daher-Socata subsequently began studying the design in a joint venture with the company that took control of the SPn program’s assets. Nicolas Chabbert, president of Daher-Socata North America, said the midsize twinjet is currently undergoing flight testing while the company conducts a market study aimed at coming to an internal decision about whether to proceed with the project.
The SPn originally had been scheduled to complete certification testing by the end of the third quarter of 2007, but a fatal crash of the second prototype in 2006 delayed the program by nine months. Grob had completed construction of its fourth prototype just two weeks before going under. At the time, the SPn’s price had been set at $7.7 million.
Meanwhile, Daher-Socata officially celebrated its 100th birthday at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh on Monday by announcing a five-year/1,000-hour free maintenance program for new TBM 850 buyers, a deal that means “having to pay for the fuel, insurance and hangar, but almost nothing else,” Chabbert said. The company also announced a Garmin G1000 retrofit package for the TBM 850 and a G500 upgrade for owners of out-of-production Tampico, Tabago and Trinidad piston models.