The TBM 930 is the fastest civilian turbo prop aircraft produced. It's made by the french company Daher Socata and was originally released in 1990 as the TBM 700. The aircraft has undergone a series of enhancements over the years increasing the speed, range, and payload of the model. It has been marketed as the TBM 700, TBM 850, TBM 900, TBM 910, and the TBM 930. The latest generation, the TBM 930 can fly at 31,000 ft at speeds rivaling the light jets.
The Garmin G3000 is a fully integrated flight deck that provides a remarkable array of capabilities with "always watching" safety features. The system continuously monitors the flight envelope through the Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP) and Under-speed Protection (USP) systems, both of which are part of the autopilot. These systems assist the pilot in maintaining the aircraft in a stable flight condition when flight parameters are exceeded.
The TBM's Elite interior can be reconfigured in multiple ways. The "standard" configuration has 6 seats with the 4 rear seats arranged in a "club seating" style. These seats can also be arranged with all 4 facing forward. There is even an optional potty option that replaces the 2 rear seats. The potty has a privacy wall that provides the occupant with complete separation from other passengers. We are not taking it on our trip. It just takes up too much space.
Not so simple when flying internationally. The aircraft uses jet fuel, the most widely produced fuel on the planet. So getting fuel is not a problem. However Socata requires the TBM be run with a fuel additive called Prist that helps keep water dissolved in the fuel (so it can't collect in the fuel system and freeze at altitude). We'll need to carry 40 cans of it since it's generally not available outside the US. That's 100lbs of extra cargo!
Loading the aircraft for any flight is a critical phase of pre-flight planning. In our case, we will generally want to be flying with full fuel tanks (292 gallons) so we need to be sure that we don't make the airplane too heavy or get it out of balance with that fuel load. In addition to the fuel, we need to carry ourselves, survival equipment, luggage, fuel additive, engine oil, tools, and all Jim's gadgets! We load the airplane up to a maximum of 7,430 lbs and it must weigh 7394 lbs or less for take-off.