Cutter Aviation, TBM
San Antonio, TX
7,300 (with 3,000+
hours in TBMs)
1. Can you summarize Cutter Aviation’s history serving the aviation community?
Cutter is the oldest, continuously operated family-owned aircraft sales and service company in the world, having started 90 years ago. Today, we are the largest distributor of four major brands of aircraft: Piper, TBM, Pilatus, and HondaJet. We also offer three in-house full-service centers that specialize in the maintenance of those brands. We have been a leader in this business for years, and with the fourth generation of Cutter now coming onboard, we will be a leader in this business for many more.
2. What are the top reasons you see owner-pilots stepping up into turbine aircraft?
Most buyers stepping up to a turbine do so because of the increase in performance and reliability. Pressurization and known ice capability often play a big part as well. For those stepping up to TBM specifically, the number one reason we see is they want the best of the best – that is how they perceive the TBM and the PT6A engine. Pilots and even non-pilots have heard of the reputation, quality, efficiency, and performance of the TBM and the PT6A. We find it is a life goal of many pilots to own one in their lifetime.
3. The TBM is the fastest single-engine turboprop on the market. How do you prepare customers who are moving up from lesser performance?
Training is the key to any transition. With each TBM sold, we evaluate the buyer’s previous experience and create a training program custom to their needs. In some cases, a low-time pilot may need several months and many hours of real-world flying with a mentor following initial training to be comfortable and safe. Highly experienced pilots can typically get away with an initial training program alone. The TBM lands at 85 KIAS and has approach speeds similar to just about any high-performance single-engine piston plane which makes the transition easier.
4. Excluding speed, what other qualities of the TBM do you also like to highlight?
Quality of build: I believe no other company produces a better designed or constructed civilian airplane of this type. One could argue that some are equals, but none are truly better. The quality is easy to see and prove.
Ease of flying: This is best shown in a demo flight, but there is nothing difficult about a TBM when it comes to flying the plane. It is a very stable, docile plane that with the right training and experience anyone can fly.
Ownership experience: Between the factory, distributors and the TBM owners, this is a one of a kind group – almost like an exclusive club. Everyone involved is very supportive of the product and strive to make the ownership experience the best it can be. (Also, it bears mentioning that the factory-paid 5-year warranty and maintenance program is unmatched).
Good looks: The TBM is one of the best-looking aircraft on the market today. It looks fast just sitting on the ramp. There are a lot of jets out there that tend to blend together. But if you pull up in a TBM, people notice.
5. What is one of the most interesting or fun aircraft you have ever flown?
In my 30 years of flying, I have worked over 21 years for either a manufacturer or a distributor of new aircraft. I rarely fly anything that has more than 100 hours on it, and in most cases, the planes are less than 90 days old. So, it is impossible not to love flying new aircraft and enjoying the power of the latest avionics. That being said, I do also have a fondness for old classic planes – especially those designed in the 1930s through the 50s. I think for the sheer enjoyment of flying, my favorite (fun) plane would be a 1948 Cessna 170 with fabric wings and 145 hp engine. I had the pleasure of flying that one for about four years – simple stick and rudder at its finest. Airplanes I have not yet had the chance to experience but would be on my bucket list, are the DC-3 and the Beech 18.