SOCATA TB family
|Socata TB series|
|Socata TB200 Tobago XL|
|Role||Light single engine piston aircraft|
The Socata TB are a series of light single engine piston aircraft manufactured by Socata and designed in the late 1970s. 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, though they are not often seen flown in that region. They are defined by their superior (and contemporary) fit and finish and interior size; compared to other four-seat single-engine aircraft, they are relatively roomy at 49 inches (124 cm) at the shoulder, plus or minus. 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 Socata an airy feeling.
Due to the larger fuselage, and relatively heavy weights, TB series aircraft have lower performance figures than a similarly sized and powered but narrower aircraft, and the trade-off of in speed for comfort is often cited by TB owners.
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. According to a Dutch news site, it was decided in 2006 that the production of the TB series will be halted. However, there had been no official statement from EADS Socata indicating this, though the orderbook of EADS Socata did not include any more aircraft of the TB series at this time, with the last three ordered TB aircraft having been delivered in 2006. 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 all together. However, the aircraft type is still supported by the company, with a Garmin glass cockpit retrofit option having been 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
- SOCATA TB-11
- Powered by a 134 kW (180 hp) piston engine.
- SOCATA TB-15
- Proposed version. Not built.
- SOCATA TB-16
- Proposed version. Not built.
- SOCATA TB-20 Trinidad
- Four of 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.
- Aviation Training Center of Rzeszów University of Technology
- Directorate-General of Customs and Indirect Taxes - TB.20 Trinidad
- Indonesian Civil Aviation Institute (ICAI) 
- AIS Flight Academy
- Martinair Flight Academy
- Civil Aviation Training Center (CATC) Thailand
- Adventia European College of Aeronautics
- Flight Training Adelaide
Specifications (TB 10)
Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1982–83
- Crew: one, pilot
- Capacity: 3–4
- Length: 7.63 m (25 ft 01⁄2 in)
- Wingspan: 9.76 m (32 ft 01⁄4 in)
- Height: 3.20 m (10 ft 6 in)
- Wing area: 11.90 m2 (128.1 sq ft)
- Airfoil: RA 16.3
- Aspect ratio: 8:1
- Empty weight: 670 kg (1,477 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Lycoming O-360-A1AD 4-cylinder horizontally opposed air-cooled piston engine, 134 kW (180 hp)
- Maximum speed: 247 km/h (133 knots, 153 mph)
- Cruise speed: 235 km/h (127 knots, 146 mph)
- Stall speed: 97 km/h (52 knots, 60 mph)
- Range: 1,210 km (653 nmi, 752 mi)
- Service ceiling: 3,960 m (13,000 ft)
- Rate of climb: 4.0 m/s (790 ft/min)
- Related lists
- Socata.eads.net, figures over 2006.
- DAHER-SOCATA, >TBM850.com - DAHER-SOCATA delivers the first G500-retrofitted TB 20 aircraft to France’s ENAC national aviation school and signs an Educational Partnership, article retrieved 24 June, 2012.
- Flying Magazine: 86. August 1991.
- Flying Magazine: 22. September 1991.
- Taylor 1982, pp. 80–81.
- Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1982–83. London: Jane's Yearbooks, 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0748-2.