SOCATA TB.30 Epsilon / Omega
In September 1978 details were given of the Aerospatiale TB-30 piston-engined trainer, designed as a basic light trainer, in collaboration with the Armee de l'Air in response to rising costs before starting jet training. Features include a metal airframe with a life in the military training role of not less than 10,000 hours, a cockpit resembling that of a jet combat aircraft, and equipment for full basic flying training, including aerobatic, instrument, night, formation, navigation, combat manoeuvres and VFR/IFR navigation.
The first of two prototypes flew on 22 December 1977, but delays were caused by redesign of the wingtips, lowering the tailplane and adding a ventral fin to cure high speed pitch and yaw instability.
Deliveries beginning in 1982 from SOCATA, the Aerospatiale subsidiary at Tarbes for the Armee de l'Air, the first of 150 aircraft to the French Air Force was accepted in July 1983.
An armed export version of the Epsilon, featuring structural reinforcement, a gunsight, and four under-wing hardpoints to carry up to 300kg of stores, flew in February 1983.
TB-30, Le Luc A/B 26 June 1989
Assembled by OGMA for the Forca Aerea Portuguesa, 18 of the piston-engined Epsilon were ordered by Portugal in October 1987. The Togolaise Air Force operated three Epsilons for dual training/light attack use, with four underwing pylons for a total of 661 lb (300 kg) of stores. Powerplant is a 300 hp (224 kw) Lycoming AEIO-540-L1B5D.
On November 9, 1985, an Epsilon flew powered by a TP-319 turboprop. The aircraft was being used as a testbed for the engine, which has been developed by Turbomeca from the TM-319 turboshaft.
Omega is the outcome of re-engining the Epsilon using a 360 shp (269 kW) Turbomeca TP319-1A2. To familiarise students with future jet aircraft, engine power and propeller settings are controlled through a single lever and there is a 31 per cent increase in fuel capacity, allowing Omega to fly two full training missions without refuelling. The airframe has been strengthened to cope with the higher acrobatic weight.
Engine: 1 x Lycoming AEIO-540-L1B5D, 300 hp (224 kW)
Engine: 1 x Avco Lycoming AEIO-540-K, 225 kW
Span: 7.9 m / 25 ft 11 in
Length: 7.6 m / 24 ft 11 in
Height: 2.7 m / 8 ft 10 in
Wing area: 9 sq.m / 96.88 sq ft
Empty wt: 932 kg
MTOW: 1250 kg
Max. speed: 355 km/h / 221 mph
Ceiling: 6100 m / 20000 ft
Initial ROC: 565 m / min
Ceiling: 7000 m
T/O run (to 15m): 640 m
Ldg run (from 15m): 440 m
Fuel internal: 210 lt.
Range/Endurance: 1250 km / 3.75 hr
Combat radius: 465 km.
Engine: 1 x Turbomeca TP319-1A2, 360 shp (269 kW)