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Matthew J. Desch - TBM 910 SN1173

Matthew J. Desch – known as Matt by members of the TBM community – is Chief Executive Officer of the global satellite company Iridium, and owns a TBM 910 based at Dulles International Airport (KIAD) near Washington, D.C.


An early pioneer in the wireless industry, he joined Iridium in 2006 as its CEO and set the goal of expanding the business beyond satellite telephones – as well as replacing its first-generation spacecraft constellation. The company has grown dramatically since Desch was hired, becoming quite profitable and now serving over 1 million customers. Among them are members of the Daher TBM community around the world, since many have a Garmin GSR 56 global satellite datalink installed to provide on-demand global weather information and text/voice communications through the Iridium satellite network.



Daher is first rate, and I’m very impressed how well they support the product and owners


Each of Iridium’s new satellites host an ADS-B receiver, capturing ADS-B signals from aircraft around the world, transferring them in real-time to ATC – even over the oceans or remote places with no radar. This should eventually support improved air traffic control services for TBM pilots as they traverse the world.


Matt has been passionate about aviation since he earned his Private Pilot’s license in 1976 at the age of 18. Today, he holds a Commercial certificate with Instrument and Multi-Engine Land ratings – having logged more than 2,200 flight hours. Active in the promotion of general aviation, he’s been a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association since 1976, and has served on its Board of Trustees since 2011.

Question: What was your first contact with the TBM?


Answer: I owned a Cessna T210 for almost 19 years and was looking to step up to something faster with more utility. Serving on the AOPA Board, I noticed how many other board members owned, or had previously owned, a TBM (7 out of 12 by my count!). Ian Blair Fries was kind enough to let me crawl through one of his TBMs at an AOPA Fly-in, and I bought my first TBM 700A from another AOPA board member who was trading up. It’s my view that the TBM hits the perfect sweet spot of flying utility: fast, comfortable, safe, and easy to fly. I like that it’s as comfortable around small airports as it is mixing it up with the “big iron.”



Question: Why did you choose the TBM 910?


Answer: I’m fortunate that my wife Ann is so supportive of my aviation addiction. She loved the TBM 700, but agreed it was getting “long in the tooth” and that more speed…and a G1000

NXi panel…would be both faster and safer. She said: “If you’re going to buy a new one, do it as soon as you can rather than waiting.” I’m lucky I married her (and think the colors she picked out for it, honoring my beloved alma mater, Ohio State University, were spectacular).

Question: What do you particularly like with the TBM 910?


Answer: As a busy public company CEO, I don’t have the time to fly every week, so I appreciate all the integration that reduces pilot workload. I also like that it’s built like a tank. Daher’s continued investment in the TBM line was really important to me as well – the airplane just keeps getting better and better.


Question: Do you use the TBM 910 mostly for your business trips or for pleasure? And what are your favorite airport/destinations to fly?


Answer: I use the TBM 910 primarily for pleasure, but use it occasionally for business trips around the U.S. East Coast and Midwest.


The airplane is perfect for quick “milk runs” to our vacation house in Pinehurst, North Carolina, or to visit family in Chicago or Ohio. It’s great for escaping Washington, D.C. in the winter to get down to Florida or other points south. I’ll admit I’m jealous when I read the exploits of other members of the TBM Owners and Pilots Association as they fly all over the world and would love to take the airplane someday to South America or Europe.


Question: How would describe your relationship with the Daher TBM team and your support organization?


Answer: Daher is first rate, and I’m very impressed how well they support the product and owners. They continue to innovate and invest, and I’m impressed how collegial and friendly their relationship is with customers. I also can’t say enough about [TBM Network member] Columbia Air Services: Art, Ken, Jim, Adam and Chris are all amazing and have become good friends. I know if I have a question or request, they’ll be all over it.

Question: What improvements would you make in your TBM 910?

Answer: With Iridium’s new satellite network, we’re finally able to offer faster data speeds, and I’d like to see a cost-effective broadband service (good for things like e-mail, rich chat applications, and pilot safety applications through flight bag apps) be available for TBMs.  We’re working with our avionics partners to make sure that’s possible in the next few years. 

Question: What is your best flight memory in your TBM?


Answer: The ferry flight with Margrit Walz [from Daher’s production facility in Tarbes, France to the U.S.] was special. Bringing your new baby “home” while enjoying Margrit’s great stories is something everyone should experience. I will also say flying to Alaska with Mark Baker for an aviation event really highlighted the speed and utility of the TBM.









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