TBM Owners and Pilots Meeting
Have you ever seen more than 100 aircraft of the same type parked next to one-another?
Each year, the TBM Owners and Pilots Association (TBMOPA) holds an annual meeting which features safety seminars, training for flying companions, and plenty of social opportunities. As I write this, I’m flying back from this year’s TBMOPA meeting in Coeur d’ Alene, a beautiful lakefront town in northern Idaho. TBM owners and pilots from around North America and beyond came to learn and have some fun. Daher-Socata representatives from France and Pratt & Whitney representatives from Canada came to update everyone on product support issues, new features, and so forth.
The learning opportunities at these events are exceptional. This year’s speakers included Eric Eilel, who is an expert on airborne weather radar and TERPs. In Eric’s TERPs seminar, I learned a lot about obstacle departure procedures that I didn’t previously know, and I actually used that knowledge this morning as I departed into a rainy a 1,000 foot overcast sky. Other speakers discussed upset recovery techniques, efficient operation of the TBM’s Pratt & Whitney PT6 turboprop engine, and tips and tricks for the Garmin avionics installed in many TBMs. Some of the best learning comes from the stories and experiences shared by other TBM pilots over a beer in the evening.
On a gorgeous boat ride on the lake, the group of TBM owners was surprised with a sneak attack low pass. See the photos.
Proceeds from an auction go to support the TBMOPA Foundation. One of the organizations that this foundation supports is Able Flight, which helps disabled people become licensed pilots and find careers in aviation. The recipients of these Able Flight scholarships are amazingly inspiring. Able Flight is a fantastic example of the 100+ charitable and public benefit aviation organizations in the United States.
There are many “type clubs”. TBMOPA is one of the groups with the most enthusiastic and eager members. Next weekend, I’ll be joining friends at the Citation Jet Pilots annual meeting in Tucson. I’ll be sure to post some photos of the more than 100 Citations parked together in Arizona!
Photos courtesy of TBMOPA and Peter Stratton.