TBM Experience Tom
TBM 930 SN1239
Tom Solano, an avid flyer got a milestone airplane
Recipient of the 900th TBM, a TBM 930 to replace his TBM 850, Tom Solano belongs to the avid flyer tribe, those who fly almost everything. He has been flying since his younger age and he has logged now more than 6,000 hours and he has owned a wide variety of aircraft, single piston and turboprops for travelling and some flying machines just for fun: an helicopter Robinson R66, a classic biplane Waco YMF and the Stemme S6, a two-seat touring motorglider from Germany...
Born in Troy New York, soon thereafter his family moved to Colombia where they lived until 1970 until they relocated to St Augustine, Florida. Developing interest for computers, he graduated as a bachelor of computer science from Florida Atlantic University in 1975. He created his own company, ISF in 1979 in the punch-card era with the room-sized computers. He developed his firm in providing information technology to private and public organizations, especially in the healthcare sector.
“ My entire business career has been in the software development space. I currently manage several software development and SaaS service companies with multiple locations both domestic and international.” He added.
In the mean time he started flying in 1971 with his first flight in a Rockwell Lark, a rare bird today, similar to a Cessna 172 at Kay Larkin Airport in Palatka Florida. A year later he obtained his private pilot licence at St Augustine Florida. Since then he progressed though multiengine, instrument, ATP and helicopter ratings and he’s now working on obtaining a helicopter instructor certificate.
In 1982 he purchased a B55 Beechcraft Baron which he still owned and fly today. As a good pilot is always Tom sets himself new challenges: “ My latest is to teach myself basic aerobatics, on a Waco YMF5C that I acquired last October. I have been using still a lot of ground to cover with this challenge.”
“Thought my career aviation has been a key part of my business and personal life.“
His business activity and leisure makes him travel extensively in his TBM 850. His typical flights in the TBM are three to four hours, so he enjoys the ability of the TBM to go far and fast. Carrying usually just one or two persons on board, full tanks and bags, this leave plenty of margin in terms of weight and balance.
Talking about destinations, he’s flying regularly with his wife Yolando, from his base Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, to the Bahamas, Boulder, Colorado, Taos in New Mexico, and Cartagena, Colombia. All this flying activity makes him logging an average 180 flight hours per year which represents half of his average flying activity.
His first contact with Daher was through, Mike Sarsfield, Daher Aircraft’s director of sales based in Atlanta. “ He came down to my home airport in St Augustine in 2011 and we did a demo flight with a TBM 850. That was later followed with a visit to the factory in Tarbes early 2012 and after the factory visit I was convinced that the TBM was a great aircraft and I placed the order for the 850 in April 2012 for a December delivery.”
For him, moving to the TBM 930 was the obvious choice, as the warranty on his TBM 850 was expiring and he was looking at several expensive six-year items and a number of desired which amounted to a significant expenditure.
“ Proceeding with the TBM 930 made sense as the G3000 system also appeared to be a positive improvement over the G1000.” Explained Mr. Solano.
Asked about his relationship with Daher, he just have nice words: “Since my introduction to Daher in 2012 all I have had have been positive experiences. The company has been responsible, attentive and caring.”
“ You just don’t buy a Daher airplane, you became a part of the family and benefit from a lot of experience and support.” He concluded.