Tom Horne

TBMOPA’s Convention

September 8, 2008 by Thomas A. Horne, Editor At Large

I just came back from my first-ever TBM Owners and Pilots Association convention. Located at a resort in Traverse City (TVC), Michigan, the event drew 78 TBM 700s and 850s, along with their owners. A Socata official said that this assemblage accounted for one-third of the US TBM fleet.

The five-day schedule involved seminars every day, and there was even an exhibition hall with booths representing Garmin, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney, and many other companies. I went to give a talk about large-droplet icing and ice-induced tailplane stalls. Even at 7:30 a.m. I had a good crowd.

AOPA ASF’s Bruce Landsberg gave a talk about ASF’s initiatives, such as their popular online safety courses.

The trip up and back was memorable, too. The trip from our home base at Frederick, Maryland, to TVC included a flight through a large patch of clouds–some of them featuring┬ámoderate rainfall–and an ILS approach to TVC. Flight Service put a huge convective sigmet around most of Michigan, but all I could see on Tom Haines’ Bonanza’s Garmin 530 datalink view was some yellow in a sea of green returns. With no contouring cells, and no Stormscope strikes, I decided to keep on truckin’. There were a couple of bumps, but mostly it was rain–and an 800-foot ceiling in rain for the arrival at TVC.

Coming back, I caught a 20-knot tailwind and saw groundspeeds as high as 194 knots. At last–a decent tailwind! Of course, the trip would have been even faster in a TBM, but that’s another story.

Bottom line: TBMOPA is an impressive organization, full of dedicated owners. I’ll be back for┬ánext year’s convention, at Tuscon.

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