Daher Shows Off Kodiak 900, 100 & New TBM 960 Styles

The manufacturer has posted record sales of the fast turboprop single and its stablemate since the 960’s debut.

Daher has added a five-blade Hartzell composite propeller option for new Kodiak 100s—also available as a retrofit for earlier models. [Courtesy: Daher]

Daher kicked off its presence at Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo 2023 with a tour around its flight line—including the Kodiak 900 for the first time at the event in Lakeland, Florida, and showing off the sky-blue-toned Scirocco paint scheme for the TBM 960, which features black mask highlighting around the cockpit windows.

During the following media briefing, the news included important updates to all of Daher’s line—with some of the coolest news coming on the Kodiak 100 III. 

“We have a five-blade prop right here,” said Nicolas Chabbert, senior vice president of Daher’s Aircraft Division. “It’s missing the plane behind—at least we wanted to show the five-blade prop that is going to go on the Kodiak 100.” 

The Hartzell prop is a direct replacement for the four-blade prop currently found on the 100 series. The new configuration will drop the noise quotient on the airplane by 6.3 decibels—and it’s 13 pounds lighter than the current prop. And, not insignificantly, it promises to reduce takeoff roll by about 6 percent.

Daher also announced a Garmin G1000 NXi retrofit option for earlier Kodiak 100S models.

Daher introduced Simcom as its training partner on the Kodiak 100 and 900, with a Frasca-built flight sim going into the training company’s facility in Arizona. Uniquely among sims, the Kodiak simulator will allow for pilots to test off-airport landings—part of the models’ bread and butter. [Credit: Julie Boatman]

Leadership on Sustainability

Chabbert paired the safety mission in developing its line of four turboprop models—as well as a fifth application, if you count the 100 on floats—with an equally critical mission, “as you know, the environmental impacts. Obviously, with the TBM side, we’re a little bit more sensitive to what’s happening in Europe, and sometimes in America, we get to thinking that this is coming last—or not coming—but I had a chance to be in D.C. in February and look at the White House roadmap for sustainability. I think that this is coming.” He stressed the need to have workable solutions—and not just think that technology will leap ahead in time to meet the demands of the greater community. “We have to make a combination [of the two],” Chabbert concluded.

To this end, Daher has implemented sustainable aviation fuel in its fleet in Tarbes, and incorporated sustainability features in its Me&My TBM app. The company also plans to display its Eco-Pulse technology demonstrator—a project with Safran and Airbus to explore electric propulsion on the TBM airframe—at the Paris Air Show in June.

Response to the Kodiak 900 has been strong, with the company's order book filled into 2024. [Credit: Jim Barrett]

Response to the Kodiak 900

The 900 on display at Sun ’n Fun was the first customer aircraft delivered—and one of three test aircraft that have been built to date, also including a static test article for structural testing, and a flying prototype for flight testing. The display aircraft is the first conforming production model that served for airworthiness authority function and reliability testing, and has been sold to a private operator. 

The first full-production aircraft is scheduled to be delivered in May 2023, according to Daher, as it spends time ramping up its production in Sandpoint, Idaho, thoughtfully. “We have the airplanes that are starting to line up in Sandpoint, with three, four, five, that you can see in different stages of the manufacturing process,” said Chabbert. 

Development of the “King Air 350-sized” Kodiak 900 began in 2016. “We have strong booked orders composed of Kodiak 100 and 900 models,’’ said Chabbert. ‘‘All of the positions for the Kodiak 900 in 2023 have been taken, we actually have a good third of the orders that are also taken into 2024.”

A focus on making the Kodiak series more adaptable to its environment—and the sensitivities of the locations in which its operators fly—made for a theme in Chabbert’s update on both the 900 and 100. In particular, the propeller’s design and low 1,900 rpm setting contribute to the low noise level of 79.5 dB on the 900, allowing the aircraft to operate in more strictly regulated noise-sensitive areas.

The Scirocco-blue TBM 960 features 2023 updates, including updated software and a control yoke activation button for Garmin’s electronic checklists. [Courtesy: Daher]

A Record Year

“The TBM 960 has surpassed all previous sales records, confirming the capabilities of digital power for this latest high-end member of our TBM 900-series aircraft family,” Chabbert said. He confirmed the delivery of nearly 60 units of the new model since its debut at Sun ’n Fun last year, with most of those trekking across the pond to North American customers. Deliveries have also gone to customers in France, Germany, Switzerland, and the U.K.

This year’s model comes with software updates to the Garmin G3000 integrated flight deck up front, along with a control yoke-mounted actuator used to manage the Garmin electronic checklists, as well as a relocated altimeter setting button. The team went through a lot of testing to ensure the proper functionality of the checklist button in particular. Seemingly small things make a difference.

The TBM 960 is also quieter, with the prop turning at 1,925 rpm during maximum power, helping to limit noise and vibration. Its sound level during takeoff is 76.4 decibels, meeting the most stringent international noise standards, according to Daher.

Stepping Up to the TBM

Interested in what it takes to fly the very-fast turboprop? An educational forum session titled “Stepping up to the TBM 960” will be presented by Wayman Luy, director of training and standards for Daher’s Aircraft Division, and is scheduled at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29, and Friday, March 31. Attendees will earn credit for the FAA’s WINGS pilot proficiency program. The forum sessions will be held in Room CFAA-08 of the Central Florida Aerospace Academy, 4141 Medulla Road, near the main entrance to the show.

Based in Maryland, Julie is an editor, aviation educator, and author. She holds an airline transport pilot certificate with Douglas DC-3 and CE510 (Citation Mustang) type ratings. She's a CFI/CFII since 1993, specializing in advanced aircraft and flight instructor development. Follow Julie on Twitter @julieinthesky.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get the latest FLYING stories delivered directly to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter