Aérospatiale-Socata TB 10 “Tobago”
France, Four/five-seat All-metal Light Aircraft

Archive Photos ¹

Aérospatiale Tobago, N25060, 1990 MCAS El Toro Airshow

Overview ²

  • 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.

Development ²

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 stabilizer, 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 order book 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.

Design ²

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.

Variants ²

  • 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.

Operators ²

Military Operators

  • France: French Air Force
  • Greece: Greek Coast Guard
  • Indonesia: Indonesian Navy
  • Israel: Israeli Air Force
  • Jordan: Royal Jordanian Air Force
  • Turkey: Turkish Navy

Civil Operators

  • 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

Specifications and Performance Data (TB-10 “Tobago”) ³


  • Four/five-seat all-metal light aircraft.


  • Cantilever Low-Wing Monoplane.
  • Wing section RA 16.3C3.
  • Thickness/chord ratio of 16%.
  • Dihedral 4° 30' from roots.
  • No incidence at root.
  • No sweep.
  • Conventional light alloy single-spar structure of constant chord, with glass-fibre 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.

Tail Unit

  • 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.

Landing Gear

  • Non-retractable tricycle type, with steerable nosewheel.
  • Oleo-pneumatic shock absorber in all three units.
  • Main wheel tires size 6.00-6, 6-ply rating, pressure 2.3 bars (33 psi).
  • Glass-fibre wheel fairings on all three units.
  • Hydraulic disc brakes.
  • Parking brake.

Power Plant

  • One 134 kW (180 hp) Avco Lycoming O-360-A1AD flat-four engine, driving a Hartzell two-blade constant-speed propeller with spinner.
  • Two integral fuel tanks in wing leading-edges; total capacity 210 L (46 Imp gallons), of which 204 L (45 Imp gallons) are usable.
  • Oil capacity 7.5 L (1.6 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 glass-fibre.
  • Baggage compartment aft of cabin, with external door on port side.
  • Cabin carpeted, soundproofed, heated and ventilated.
  • Windscreen defrosting standard.


  • Electrical systems include 12V 60A alternator and 12V 32A battery, landing and navigation lights, four individual cabin lights and instrument panel lighting.
  • Hydraulic system for wheel brakes only.

Avionics and Equipment

  • 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.

Dimensions, external

  • 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 0½ in (7.63 m)
  • Height overall: 10 ft 6 in (3.20 m)
  • Tailplane span: 10 ft 6 in (3.20 m)
  • Wheelbase: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 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)

Dimensions, internal

  • 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): 27.56 ft² (2.56 m²)


  • Weight empty, with unusable fuel and oil: 1,447 lbs (670 kg)
  • Baggage: 100 lbs (45 kg)
  • Max T-O weight: 2,530 lbs (1,150 kg)

Performance (at T-O weight)

  • Max level speed: 153 mph (247 km/h, 133 knots)
  • Max cruising speed (75% power): 146 mph (235 km/h, 127 knots)
  • Econ cruising speed (65% power): 135 mph (217 km/h, 117 knots)
  • Stalling speed, flaps: 70 mph (112 km/h, 61 knots)
  • Stalling speed, flaps down: 60 mph (97 km/h; 52 knots)
  • Max rate of climb at S/L: 790 ft/min (240 m/min)
  • Service ceiling: 13,000 ft (3.960 m)
  • T-O run: 1,066 ft (325 m)
  • T-O run to 50 ft (15 m): 1,657 ft (505 m)
  • Landing run from 50 ft (15 m): 1,395 ft (425 m)
  • Landing run: 623 ft (190 m)
  • Range with max standard fuel, allowances for T-O, climb, econ power cruise and descent, 45 min reserves: 752 miles (1,290 km; 696 nm)


  1. Shupek, John. “Aérospatiale Socata TB 10 Tobago” The Skytamer Archive, Copyright © 1990 Skytamer Images. All Rights Reserved
  2. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Socata TB family
  3. 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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