Taking advantage of the burgeoning interest in top-drawer turboprop
s, seen by many to be a more economical alternative to jets
in tough times, comes the $2.8 million Daher-Socata TBM 850 (above). The stylish plane
, the product of a merger between Socata, founded in 1911, and French aerospace
firm Daher, offers the advantages of the cruising speeds typical of light jets, but with the economical direct operating costs of a single-engine turboprop. And of course it's a lot cheaper. Equipped with a Pratt & Whitney PT6A engine offering responsive handling and sporty performance, the TBM 850 can climb to 31,000 ft in as little as 20 minutes, fly over 1,400 nautical miles, and slip into a 2,000-ft. airstrip or a mountain runway. It accommodates six people including pilot and co-pilot in its luxurious, air-conditioned cabin.