The French firm SOCATA (Société de Construction d’Avions de Tourisme et d’Affaires), previously known for licensed manufacture of the Horizon and Rallye, developed the TB series in the mid 70s as a touring and training aircraft. First flying in 1975, the TB was manufactured in several variants until production was discontinued in 2012.
Known as the “Caribbean series”, the TB was produced in variants named TB9 Tampico, TB10 Tobago and TB20/21/200 Trinidad. The TB9, 10 and 200 are fixed gear aircraft of different power outputs, with the TB20/21 sporting retractable undercarriage. The TB was also substantially developed into the TB30 Epsilon military trainer.
Described by one writer as “a Cherokee done over by Club Med”, the TB is noted for its stylish lines, and also its roomy interior, with an unusually wide fuselage which bulges at the wing, and glazing extending to the roof for an airy feel. However, it gains comfort at the expense of performance, with more modest figures than similar aircraft fitted with the ubiquitous Lycoming O-360. With over 2000 built, the TB is in widespread use today and is particularly popular for instrument training.
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