Safety by Design

When it comes to safety, positive results are what really matter most. Diamond has earned a safety record, backed by real world data, that is second to none.

Our primary design goal is to build aircraft that are a pleasure to fly, yet forgiving and safe, while offering maximum protection in case of an accident. To accomplish this we invest in two key safety strategies, Active and Passive Safety.

Active Safety

The best accident protection is to avoid them in the first place. Active Safety features and characteristics help do just that.

Active Safety refers to all the features and characteristics of an aircraft that help pilots avoid an accident. These include docile handling characteristics, continued controllability through a stall, positive stability, high crosswind capability, excellent runway and climb performance, comfortable pilot workload, superior visibility, structural integrity under flight loads, critical system redundancies, reliable power and the many features that a modern integrated glass cockpit and digital autopilot offer.

Beyond that, active safety includes the matching of an aircraft design to its intended mission and pilot capability.

Our single engine piston models are especially docile and well suited for expert and novice pilots alike.

Our high performance aircraft offer ice protection and twin engine safety, yet are easy to fly with simple single lever power controls.

Passive Safety

Unfortunately, not all accidents can be avoided. Passive Safety features are the second line of defense and help minimize the probability and degree of injuries.

Passive safety elements include structural integrity of the cabin under crashloads, effective occupant restraint, impact energy absorption, unobstructed headstrike zones, and flammable fluid fire protection.

Safety Cell

Diamond-Aircraft-NoInjuryDiamond-Safety-KubicaEach Diamond aircraft incorporates an integral cabin surrounding composite “roll cage” structure, which is stiff and strong to provide survival space and protection in case of impact.  With the adoption of crashworthy composite cockpits, Formula 1 racecar safety transformed from fatal injuries and fires being commonplace to fatalities and fires becoming virtually unknown. Similarly, a Diamond aircraft’s non critical structure is allowed to fail to help absorb crash energy while the cabin structure is designed to resist crushing and penetration to afford maximum occupant protection.

Left: Montreal 2007, R Kubica survived 180 mph crash
Right: DA20 loss of control during landing, no injury

Full scale dynamic
crashtest DA62
fuselage structure

Occupant Restraint

Integrated fixed seatshells with energy absorbing crash elements, antisubmarine geometry and three point shoulder and lap restraints offer effective, yet comfortable, occupant restraint, critical to crashworthiness.  Diamond performs dynamic crash tests not only of seats, as is typical, but of the entire fuselage cabin structure to test structure, seats, and restraints as one system.  Details, such as breakaway glareshields, using rocker instead of potentially injurious toggle switches plus maintaining distances between heads and rigid structures, further enhance the survivability.

Flammable Fluid Fire Protection

Survivable accidents should be exactly that – survived. Diamond takes special measures to minimize the probability of post crash fires.

Fuel Lines

Typical in aviation are light, but fragile, rigid thinwall aluminum fuel lines. While these tubes are used in many other aircraft, they unfortunately rupture easily in a crash when supporting structures are deformed.  To help prevent this, Diamond uses only tough flexible stainless steel braided high pressure fuel lines that move with deforming structure and have vastly superior strength and rupture resistance. They weigh and cost significantly more, but their criticality to preventing fuel leaks is worth it.

Fuel Tanks

In the DA20, the fuel cell is extremely well protected by the fuselage safety cell structure, yet separated from the cockpit, reflecting today’s modern automotive practice. Most piston aircraft carry fuel in the wings, but not all are equal in safety.  Many use the wing structure, including the vulnerable leading edge,  as the tank itself, but even very light damage can cause a catastrophic breach. Diamond’s structural design concept was driven by a key goal: protection of the fuel tanks. Our DA40, DA42 and DA62 have a twin wingspar design to allow the fuel to be placed in separate aluminum fuel tanks located between the massive and protective spars. Obviously this weighs and costs more than merely filling the wing structure with fuel, but it is worth every ounce and dollar in the added safety it provides.

Fuel Cell Integrity In Real Life

1999 – Provo, UT, Runway collision between DA20 and PA28

Safety Results

Diamond’s designs have achieved an impressive and consistent safety record over many years and millions of hours flown worldwide. Our safety record has been lauded by the aviation press and is rewarded with attractive insurance rates.

Beyond the statistics and insurance rates, safety is about minimizing the risks that are inherent to flying to better protect you and your passengers.

Shouldn’t safety be at the very top of your list when selecting your next aircraft?

To search the make and model specific NTSB accident database: http://ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/index.aspx

Fatal and Overall Accident Rates Compared

Diamond-Safety-CrashRates

Source: http://www.avweb.com/news/features/Used-Aircraft-Guide-Diamond-DA20-222630-1.html

“Aviation Consumer’s comparative review of aircraft safety found that all of Diamond’s airplanes from the DA20 to the DA42 twins have exceptionally low overall accident rates and low fatal rates.”

Source: http://www.avweb.com/news/features/Used-Aircraft-Guide-Diamond-DA20-222630-1.html

Safety Illustrated

We’re happy to report that in the following accidents the majority of people were uninjured and only a few sustained non life threatening injuries. We feel these photos are a testament to the integrity of all our aircraft.

May 1997

Impact with terrain following loss of control during landing.
Total Loss, no injuries.

August 1997

DA20 Encountered MD-80 wake turbulence and impacted inverted.
Note how integrated rollbar maintained protection.
Injuries: minor

September 1999

DA20 impacted parked aircraft and cartwheeled, following loss of control during landing.
Total Loss, no injuries.
Note how the safety cell remained intact.

October 2002

Aircraft ran out of fuel, struck high voltage power lines and crashed.
No injuries – fire damage from HV electric short.

November 2006

Mid-air collision with a DA40-180 & DA42-TDI.
DA40: No injuries.
DA42: Landed safely.

July 2007

DA40 with four occupants flew into a box canyon and was unable to exit. Impact with trees / terrain
destroyed airframe but cabin section remained intact. No fire, no injuries.

“Gentlemen, as you already know a Diamond DA-40 out of Utah (Spanish Forks) crashed close to
Strawberry Reservoir a few days ago. I am sharing these pictures with you all as we believe they show a
testament to the exemplary safety qualities of your aircraft.”

Mario Markides
Associate Chair – Operations
Utah Valley State College

July 2008

DA42 flew into a box canyon, impacted glacier in downdraft and dropped down 70′ into ravine.
Non-life threatening injuries.  Note structural integrity of cabin and no fire.

September 2008

“The aircraft cockpit area looks much worse than it actually was post crash as the rescue guys used the
jaws of life to rip open the aircraft to extricate the instructor. The left wing struck the ground first,
sheared off, and the aircraft tumbled into a ravine short of the runway. I’m crediting Diamond with saving
these guys due to your carbon fibre reinforced cockpit…”

Kenneth Smith, CEO, DOSS Aviation
C130 wake turbulence loss of control

May 2009

Solo student stalled 15ft above the runway, bounced, added full power and
struck trees at the end of the runway.
No injuries.

January 2014

Fuel starvation – Minor injuries.

January 2014

“(We) Had an IP make a significant judgment error yesterday by taking off too close behind a Blackhawk
helicopter. The DA-20 was caught in the rotor wash and pushed to 90 degrees of bank at approx. 300′ AGL.
The IP attempted to fly the airplane to the ground, impacting hard on the nose, then cart wheeling a couple
of times before coming to rest inverted. Fortunately, both the instructor and student remained protected
inside the cockpit and suffered only minor bumps and bruises. Thanks for building us such a tough little trainer!”

Lee Hall, DOSS IFS Site Manager