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Aérospatiale-Socata TB-21 “Trinidad TC”
French Four/Five Seat All-metal Touring Aircraft
Archive Photos ¹
Aérospatiale Socata TB 21 Trinidad TC, N21HR, 1990 MCAS El Toro Airshow
- Socata TB series
- Role: Light single engine piston aircraft
- Manufacturer: Socata
- Introduction: 1975
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 TB-9) 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 become 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.
The letters TB in the name stand for Tarbes, a city in the south of France where the aircraft is manufactured.
Design work on the TB series began in the mid 1970s to replace Socata's successful Rallye series of aircraft. The TB-20 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 modernized 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 TB-20 and TB-21 models, together with a new model only known as the TB-2X, to Romania. TB-2X was the working name of a new model that would most likely be similar to the TB-20 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 TB-20 and TB-21 have a retractable gear. Probably the biggest difference between the models is the engine power which increases from 160 horsepower (119 kW) for the TB-9, 180 horsepower (134 kW) for the TB-10, 200 horsepower (149 kW) for the TB-200 and to 250 horsepower (186 kW) on the TB-20 and 21. The only difference between the TB-20 and the TB-21 is that the latter is turbocharged, hence the letters TC. All models have a constant speed propeller, except for the TB-9, 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.
- SOCATA TB-9C Tampico Club —
- SOCATA TB-9 Sprint — Fitted with a spatted undercarriage.
- SOCATA 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 GTI — 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)(1991)
- SOCATA TB-21 Trinidad TC — 250 hp (186-kW) Turbocharged variant.
- 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.
- France: French Air Force
- Greece: Greek Coast Guard
- Indonesia: Indonesian Navy
- Israel: Israeli Air Force
- Jordan: Royal Jordanian Air Force
- Turkey: Turkish Navy
- Poland: Aviation Training Center of Rzeszów University of Technology
- France: Directorate-General of Customs and Indirect Taxes - TB-20 Trinidad
- Indonesia: Indonesian Civil Aviation Institute (ICAI)
- Philippines: Philippine State College of Aeronautics (PHILSCA)
- Thailand: Civil Aviation Training Center (CATC) Thailand
- Spain: Adventia European College of Aeronautics
Aérospatiale-Socata TB-21 “Trinidad TC” ³
The Trinidad is a four/five touring and IFR training aircraft, basically similar to the TB-10 Tobago but with a more powerful engine and retractable landing gear. The prototype (F-WDBA) flew for the first time, at Tarbes, on 14 November 1980. French certification was received on 18 December 1981, and the first production Trinidad (F-WDBB) was delivered on 23 March 1982. FAA type approval was obtained on 27 January 1984. Orders totaled 154 aircraft by 1 May 1985, including 19 for the DGAC for commercial airline pilot training. There are two current versions of the Trinidad, as follows:
- Aérospatiale Socata TB-20 Trinidad: (Basic version with 186 kW (250 hp) Avco Lycoming IO-540-C4D5D engine.)
- Aérospatiale Socata TB-21 Trinidad TC:
- Turbocharged version, first flown on 24 August 1984, with 186 kW (250-hp) Avco Lycoming TIO-540-AB1AD engine and oxygen system.
- Certification received on 23 May 1985.
- The first production Trinidad TC (F-GENI), displayed at the 1985 Paris Air Show, was a 500th aircraft of the TB 9/10/20/21 series produced by Socata.
Specifications and Performance Data (TB-21 “Trinidad TC”) ³
- Four/five-seat all-metal light aircraft.
- Cantilever Low-Wing Monoplane.
- Wing section RA 16.3C3.
- Thickness/chord ratio of 16%.
- Dihedral 6° 30' from roots.
- Flap preselector standard.
- No incidence at root.
- No sweep.
- Conventional light alloy single-spar structure of constant chord, with glassfiber tips.
- Balanced ailerons and electrically actuated slotted flaps, of light alloy.
- Light-alloy semi-monocoque structure.
- Shallow strake under each side of fuselage immediately after the wing root fillet.
- Glass fiber engine cowlings.
- Span and chord of horizontal tail surfaces increased.
- Mechanical rudder trim standard.
- Cantilever all-metal type, with sweptback vertical surfaces and constant chord all-moving horizontal surfaces mounted at extreme tail, aft of rudder.
- Ground adjustable tab at top of rudder.
- Anti-tab in horizontal surfaces.
- Hydraulically retractable tricycle type, with single wheel on each unit.
- Free fall emergency extension.
- Steerable nosewheel retracts rearward.
- Main units retract inward into fuselage.
- Hydraulic disc brakes.
- Parking brake.
- One Avco Lycoming TIO-540-AB1AD 186 kW (250-hp) turbocharged flat-six engine, driving a Hartzell HC-C2YK-1BF/F8477-4 two-blade metal propeller with spinner.
- Fuel tanks in wings; total useable capacity 326 L (71.75 Imp gallons). Oil capacity 12.6 L (2.8 Imp gallons).
- Four/five seats in enclosed cabin, with dual controls.
- Adjustable front seats with inertia reel seat belts.
- Removable rear bench seat with safety belts.
- Sharply inclined low-drag windscreen.
- Access via upward hinged window/doors of glassfiber.
- Baggage compartment aft of cabin, with external door on port side.
- Cabin carpeted, soundproofed, heated and ventilated.
- Windscreen defrosting standard.
Avionics and Equipment
- Self-contained electro-hydraulic system for landing gear actuation.
- Eros oxygen system is standard in TB 21.
- Avionics to customer's specification.
- Current aircraft are equipped without extra charge with a basic nav pack that includes a rate of climb indicator, electric turn and bank indicator, horizontal and directional gyro, true airspeed indicator, EGT and outside air temperature indicator.
- Standard equipment includes armrests for all seats, map pockets, anti-glare visors, stall warning indicator, tiedown fittings and towbar.
- In addition to the basic nav pack, current aircraft have as standard equipment a heated pitot, emergency static vent, cylinder head temperature gauge, emergency lighting systems, tinted windows and a storm window.
- Wing span: 32 ft 0¼ in (9.76 m)
- Wing chord (constant): 4 ft 0 in (1.22 m)
- Wing aspect ratio: 8
- Length overall: 25 ft 3½ in (7.71 m)
- Height overall: 9 ft 4¼ in (2.85 m)
- Tailplane span: 11 ft 11¼ in (3.64 m)
- Wheelbase: 6 ft 3¼ in (1.91 m)
- Propeller diameter: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
- Propeller ground clearance: 0 ft 4 in (0.10 m)
- Cabin door: width 2 ft 11½ in (0.90 m); height 2 ft 6 in (0.76 m)
- Baggage door: width 2 ft 1¼ in (0.64 m); height 1 ft 5¼ in (0.44 m)
- Cabin length, firewall to rear bulkhead: 8 ft 3½ in (2.53 m)
- Cabin length, panel to rear bulkhead: 6 ft 6¾ in (2.0 m)
- Cabin height, floor to roof: 3 ft 8 in (1.12 m)
- Cabin width, at rear seats: 4 ft 2¼ in (1.28 m)
- Cabin width, at front seats: 3 ft 9¼ in (1.15 m)
- Wings, gross: 128.1 ft² (11.90 m²)
- Ailerons (total): 9.80 ft² (0.91 m²)
- Trailing-edge flaps (total): 40.04 ft² (3.72 m²)
- Fin: 9.47 ft² (0.88 m²)
- Rudder: 6.78 ft² (0.63 m²)
- Horizontal tail surfaces (total): 32.94 ft² (3.06 m²)
Performance (at T-O weight)
- Weight empty, with unusable fuel and oil: 1,797 lbs (815 kg)
- Baggage, max: 143 lbs (65 kg)
- Max T-O weight: 3,086 lbs (1,400 kg)
- Max level speed: 230 mph (370 km/h, 200 knots)
- Best power cruising speed (75% power) at 25,000 ft (7,620 m): 215 mph (346 km/h, 187 knots)
- Econ cruising speed (65% power) at 25,000 ft (7,620 m): 195 mph (315 km/h, 170 knots)
- Stalling speed, flaps up: 75 mph (121 km/h, 66 knots)
- Stalling speed, flaps and wheels down: 63 mph (101 km/h; 55 knots)
- Rate of climb at 2,000 ft (610 m): 1,090 ft/min (332 m/min)
- Rate of climb at 17,000 ft (5,180 m): 800 ft/min (244 m /min)
- Certification ceiling: 25,000 ft (7,620 m)
- T-O run: 1,083 ft (330 m)
- T-O run to 50 ft (15 m): 1,772 ft (540 m)
- Landing run from 50 ft (15 m): 1,772 ft (540 m)
- Landing run: 623 ft (190 m)
- Range with max fuel, allowances for T-O, climb, cruise at best econ setting and descent, 45 min reserves, 75% power at 25,000 ft (7,620 m): 1,024 miles (1,648 km; 890 nm)
- Range with max fuel, allowances for T-O, climb, cruise at best econ setting and descent, 45 min reserves, 65% power at 25,000 ft (7,620 m): 1,185 miles (1,907 km; 1,030 nm)
- Max ferry range at 20,000 ft (6,100 m): 1,332 miles (2,145 km; 1,158 nm)
- Photo: John Shupek, copyright © 1990 John Shupek
- History: Wikipedia, Socata TB family
- History and specs: Taylor, John W.R., Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1985-86, Jane's Yearbooks, ISBN 0 7106-0821-7, 1985
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