The people at TBM don't know why, but the new engine is much easier to manage in the pattern and on short final. In most PT6 installations, the power lever becomes very sensitive at the lower power settings used around the airport. At low power the propeller is operating close to flat pitch and a small reduction in power drives the prop flatter, creating a lot of drag and a sinking spell if you are not careful. But the new engine in the 850 doesn't seem to have this power sensitivity band. Power response to movements of the throttle remain linear all the way to touchdown, and I found it very easy to gradually reduce power into the landing flare without any abrupt change that could cause the airplane to drop in. There is, however, a powerful visual illusion because the nose is so long that the TBM is pointed way nose down on approach, creating the temptation to flare too high.
After a couple of landings youget the proper sight picture in mind and landings become easy and predictable.
An obvious question in view of the 850's typical $2.8 million price is: Why a turboprop single when light jets such as the Citation Mustang will cost nearly the same? The answer is because the TBM is not a jet, that's why. The new 850 delivers speed close to that of the proposed new light jets, and undoubtedly more range, with only a single engine. Insurance companies are comfortable with pilots moving into the TBM directly from piston singles. No type rating is required, and the TBM doesn't have the runway limitations imposed on jets. And at today's prices, fuel has become a cost issue in any airplane, and you can't beat the efficiency of a single.
The TBM is really a personal airplane designed for the owner pilot who wants to go fast over long distance while carrying few, if any, passengers. In this airplane the pilot and his companion are the payload. The cabin is plenty roomy and comfortable for two couples, though six fit fine for shorter trips, but this airplane is about owner pilots, not passengers.
Bottom line, nothing goes as fast and as far for the money as the TBM 850, and it is being delivered now, is well established in terms of maintenance and insurance, and is available to virtually any pilot with an instrument rating. The airplane hit its target out of the box as the ultimate personal airplane, and with the extra speed of the 850, it just keeps getting better.