TBM 940

Daher TBM 940

Demand for this 2020 edition of the airframer's turboprop series is not slowing down.

Editor's Note: Information about Daher's newer 960 is available here.

Daher's $4.3 million, six-seat, single-engine TBM 940 turboprop made its debut in 2019. The latest iteration of the popular TBM series has a top cruise speed of 330 knots and is the first turboprop weighing less than 12,500 pounds to offer a standard, factory-installed integrated autothrottle and automatic deicing. Both features significantly reduce pilot workload and stress, as does the aircraft’s single-lever power control. As most TBMs are operated single pilot at altitudes up to 31,000 feet, those factors can be significant.  

Outside air and engine temperatures, altitude, and barometric pressure all impact engine performance. Without autothrottle, the pilot must manually adjust for these changing conditions by adding or retarding fuel flow to maintain a constant airspeed and proper engine temperatures. The adjustments are time-consuming and reduce fuel efficiency. If made incorrectly, they can damage the engine. The Garmin autothrottle allows the 940’s Pratt & Whitney PT6A-66D engine (850 shp) to be operated safely and efficiently. It uses software to analyze many aircraft and atmospheric variables and automatically control engine power to produce a selected and safe airspeed.

The automatic de-icing system displays a message to alert the crew when ice is detected and activates if the pilot does not take appropriate action. The system provides airframe, propeller, and windshield deicing and triggers the inertial particle separator to prevent engine icing. 

Daher’s e-copilot technology, available on the earlier TBM 930 and the current-production 910, uses guardrails built into the Garmin autopilot to maintain flight within the aircraft’s design envelope, using pitch and bank-angle inputs to protect against excessive bank angles, speed departures, and hypoxia incapacitation; when cabin altitude exceeds 11,500 feet, the emergency descent mode automatically activates.

The 940 incorporates other upgrades as well. The redesigned exhaust provides better airflow through the engine, enhancing high-altitude performance. A five-bladed composite propeller improves takeoff distance, climb times, and cruise speed while keeping outside takeoff noise at a neighborly 76 decibels, about the same noise an automobile makes at 65 mph as measured 25 feet from a freeway’s edge. The basic performance numbers stay pretty much the same, save for takeoff distance, which is reduced 50 feet to 2,380 feet (sea level, standard temperature). 

The cabin features a new design and heated seats, additional thermal insulation in the sidewalls, a central shelf with side storage, an additional 115-volt outlet at the right rear seat panel, and an extra USB port (bringing the total number of ports to six for passengers and three for the pilots. New-production TBMs have better environmental controls, vapor-cycle air conditioning, avionics upgrades, a small beverage cabinet, a wider main cabin entry door well-suited for loading outsized cargo, and an optional separate forward pilot’s door. Passengers sit in facing club-four seats, and there is room for two pilots (although the airplane is certified for single-pilot use and most operators fly it that way). The passenger seat bottoms are 18 inches wide and have 22-inch-high backs. That leaves a really narrow 11-inch-wide aisle. A single club table deploys from the righthand sidewall, and there are power outlets for laptops.

TBM 940 Details

The initial iteration of the TBM, the Model 700, first flew in 1988 and was certified in 1990. The six-seat, 292-knot, pressurized aircraft was mostly metal but used some composites on the control surfaces. Succeeding models have been fitted with progressive and incremental changes. The cabin is quiet for a turboprop though still noisier than a jet. The aft-located main door measures 3.5 feet high and 3.9 feet wide and swings up and out of the way on a pair of gas-charged springs. An electric motor drives it back down. Most baggage is stored behind a cargo net in back of the rear-most row of seats. A small baggage compartment with an external door in the rear fuselage will hold 77 pounds and is big enough for a pilot’s overnight bag or a tool kit. An even smaller forward storage compartment, also with an external door, typically holds the tow bar and the engine inlet and exhaust stack covers.

In 2006, the TBM 850 made its premiere with a more powerful and thirstier engine that boosted maximum cruise speed to 320 knots. However, because it cruises and climbs quicker, the 850 actually has slightly longer legs than the older 700. French aerostructures company Daher purchased Socata from parent company EADS in 2008 and continued the campaign of TBM product improvement. With the advent of the 900 model in 2014, the aircraft received a host of aerodynamic improvements, including a quieter five-blade propeller, curved winglets, and a redesigned engine cowl and inlet crafted of carbon fiber that reduces drag and boosts cooling. The previously optional pilot exterior door became standard and its construction was much improved. In total, the conglomeration added 10 knots to cruise speed (330 knots at 28,000 feet), improved runway and climb performance, and extended range to 1,730 nautical miles.

TBM 940 Makes World Debut at Paris Air Show

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TBM 940 Makes World Debut at Paris Air Show

The newest member of Daher’s “very fast turboprop” family, with enhanced automation, has just been delivered to its first customer.

In 2016, Daher announced an “Elite Privacy” option for the aircraft that provides an electric flushing lav shielded in a pop-up surround with a privacy screen and an illuminated mirror. Also in 2016, Daher began giving customers their choice of avionics, and it badged and priced the models differently to reflect this. The TBM 910 features the Garmin G1000 Nxi glass panel system, while the 940, like the 930 before it, is fitted with the more sophisticated Garmin G3000 package, the next-generation backbone for the avionics on some larger, faster jet aircraft such as the HondaJet and the Cessna Citation M2. You can get all the same options, save the avionics, on the 910 that you can get on the 930, for around $200,000 less. Daher says its customers are split about 50-50 regarding which of the two models they prefer.

For the 2018 TBM 930 and 910, Daher added cockpit enhancements, including a backlit center console, new power and flaps levers, and override controls. The pilot’s oxygen mask also received a high-fidelity microphone and standard color options were expanded. 

Sales activity for the 940 has been “brisk,” says Daher airplane business unit senior vice president Nicolas Chabbert. Through 2019, the manufacturer delivered 48 TBM 900 series aircraft, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, including about two dozen of the new 940s. That’s not surprising. Even some 32 years after the first TBM took to the skies, there are few airplanes out there that deliver 300 plus knots on 50 gallons of fuel per hour. The TBM 940 does that, and a lot more, in style. 

2020 TBM 940 at a Glance

Price (typically equipped): $4.3 million 

Avionics: Garmin G3000

Engine: Pratt & Whitney PT6A-66D engine (850 shp)

Crew: 1–2 

Passengers: 4–5 

Range: 1,730 nm*

Maximum cruise speed: 330 kt

Maximum takeoff weight: 7,394 lb 

Landing distance: 2,380 ft


            Height: 4 ft 

            Width: 3 ft, 11.6 in

            Length: 13 ft, 3.45 in

*1 pilot, no passengers, NBAA IFR reserves, 252 kt cruise speed

Source: Daher