Home : History : TB Model History
The Daher (Socata) TB are a series of highly regarded light single engine piston aircraft designed and manufactured by Daher (Socata) in Tarbes, France. All aircraft (with the exception of the TB9) have a constant speed propeller. The TB series have become widely used training and touring aircraft and are often used for instrument training.
The TB series planes have come to be known as the "Caribbean Planes", due to their island names. They are defined by their superior (and contemporary) ergonomic fit and finish and interior size compared to other single-engine aircraft, they are relatively roomy at about 49 inches (124 cm) at the shoulder. In part this is due to the fuselage having a pronounced "round out" above the wing. Adding to the actual spaciousness, the side windows extend up well into the roof line, giving the aircraft an airy feeling. Most aircraft destined for Australia were certified in France then disassembled and shipped to Australia where they were reassembled.
The letters TB in the name stand for Tarbes, a city in the south of France where all the aircraft were manufactured. Today, Socata (now Daher) continues as a strong force in aviation manufacturing the fastest commercially built single engine turbo-prop aircraft in the world, the latest model known as the TBM900.
Design work on the TB series began in the mid 1970s to replace Socata's successful Rallye series of aircraft. The TB20 model was certified in France on December 18, 1980. The first delivery to a customer happened in March 1981 in Germany.
All aircraft in the series were modernised in 2000 and as a result the letters GT were added (GT standing for Generation Two). The GT versions have a bigger cabin and aerodynamic improvements. The most noticeable differences between the first and second generation models are the wing tips, which are rounder on the older models, and the vertical stabiliser, which is curved on the lower front on the GT models. The looks of the rear windows have also changed, being more blended with the fuselage on the GT models.
Plans were to move the production of the TB20 and TB21 models, together with a new model only known as the TB2X, to Romania. TB2X was the working name of a new model that would most likely be similar to the TB20 Trinidad, but with a Diesel engine. Production of the TB series was eventually halted in 2006, although one prototype TB20 with a diesel engine was built and tested.
In 2008 it was announced that the TB GT Series would be built to order only, by 2012 the TB GT series had disappeared as an order option. The production status of the TB is considered halted rather than ceased as the future of the aircraft is unknown. Consideration has been given to manufacturing in various countries but nothing firm has been determined.
Daher-Socata have a strong commitment to actively support the 2000 plus aircraft still flying today. Recent evidence of this is a Garmin glass cockpit retrofit STC option recently made available.
The aircraft are all very similar looking both inside and out but only the TB20 and TB21 have a retractable gear. Probably the biggest difference between the models is the engine power which increases from 160 horsepower (119 kW) for the TB9, 180 horsepower (134 kW) for the TB10, 200 horsepower (149 kW) for the TB200 and to 250 horsepower (186 kW) on the TB20 and 21. The only difference between the TB20 and the TB21 is that the latter is turbocharged, hence the letters TC. All models have a constant speed propeller, except for the TB9, which has a fixed pitch propeller. On the fixed gear models, the landing gear fairings are optional.
SOCATA TB-9 Tampico
Four-seat light cabin aircraft, powered by a 160 horsepower (119 kW) Lycoming O-320-D2A piston engine, equipped with a fixed pitch propeller, fitted with fixed tricycle landing gear.
SOCATA TB-9 Tampico Club
Four-seat training version.
SOCATO TB-9C Tampico Club
SOCATO TB-9 Sprint
Fitted with a spatted undercarriage.
SOCATO TB-9 Sprint GT
Improved version of the TB-9 Sprint.
SOCATA TB-10 Tobago
Four or five-seat light cabin aircraft, powered by a 180 horsepower (134 kW) Lycoming O-360-A1AD piston engine, equipped with a fixed spatted landing gear.
SOCATA SB-10 Tobago Privilege
Limited edition model.
SOCATA SB-10 GT
Improved version of the TB.10 Tobago
Powered by a 134 kW (180 hp) piston engine.
Proposed version. Not built.
Proposed version. Not built.
SOCATA TB-20 Trinidad
Four or five seat light cabin aircraft, powered by a 250 horsepower (186 kW) piston engine, fitted with retractable tricycle landing gear.
SOCATA TB-20 Trinidad Excellence
Limited edition model, fitted with enhanced avionics.
SOCATA TB-20 C Trinidad
Air ambulance and freight transport version.
SOCATA TB-20 GT
Improved version of the TB-20 Trinidad.
SOCATA TB-21 Trinidad
250 horsepower (186 kW)
(1985) SOCATA TB-21 Trinidad TC - 250hp (186-kW) Turbocharged variant with a Lycoming TIO540 B1AD. 
SOCATA TB-21 Trinidad GT
Improved version of the TB-21 Trinidad TC, fitted with a digitally-controlled turbocharger.
SOCATA TB-30 Epsilon
Military trainer aircraft unrelated to any of the other aircraft in the TB-series.
SOCATA TB-31 Omega
Proposed turboprop powered version of the TB-30 Epsilon. Only one aircraft built.
SOCATA TB-200 Tobago XL
(1991) Five-seat light cabin aircraft, powered by a 200 horsepower (149 kW) Lycoming IO-360A1B6 piston engine, fitted with fixed tricycle landing gear.
SOCATA TB-200 Tobago XL GT
Improved version of the TB-200 Tobago XL.
SOCATA TB-360 Tangara
An unrelated proposed aircraft based on the Gulfstream American GA-7 Cougar. Never entered production.