- Reviews & Testimonials
Henry Van Kesteren
D-JET Position Holder
"I joined the Army Air Corp just out of high school in 1940 and went to airplane mechanic's school. With the outbreak of World War II, pilot training became available and I began flying in 1942 in the Air Corps and I have been involved in aviation in a variety of ways ever since."
"Stationed in Americus, Georgia, I started flying Stearmans. Upon graduation as a 2nd Lt, my first assignment was as a flight instructor flying the AT-6. Toward the end of the war, I was assigned a P-51 slot, but upon completion of training, the war ended and I became a civilian again."
"Out of the Army, my wife, Ginny, and I built an airport in Selma, Alabama. We taught a lot of people how to fly. I also started and ran a crop-dusting business, obtained an A&P license and flew in the military reserves instructing in B-25s."
"In 1952 with the outbreak of the Korean War, I was called to active duty and stationed out of Orly Field in Paris. I flew DC-3s for two years which took me all over Europe and Africa. Returning to Charleston, South Carolina, I flew DC-4s on Atlantic runs for one year. Then our squadron received 16 brand new Lockheed Super Constellations, which I flew for about six years."
"Transferring to the West Coast at Travis AFB, I flew the C-135B (Boeing 707) worldwide, but mostly to support Vietnam. Next station was MacDill AFB to fly a four-star general for Strike Command - what is now Central Command. I did this until my retirement from the military - but not from flying - in 1969."
"When I left the military, my wife and I decided to stay in St. Petersburg where we then started a real estate business. "Let us show you from the air" was our slogan and it worked very well for us. We bought the FBO at Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg. I had a Piper and Grumann dealership and bought and sold many other models through the years. I sold the FBO in 1987; built my own hangar and decided to only deal in airplanes that interested me. This included a Citation 500, four MU2s, six Aerostars and numerous Bonanzas and Malibus. I developed several STCs for Malibus and Aerostars."
"I fly nearly everyday from the St. Petersburg downtown airport (SPG), usually demos, test flights and to property we have in southwest Florida and at Spruce Creek Airpark near Daytona. Bahamas are also a favorite destination."
At age 80, I put a deposit on an Eclipse. 6 years later, I took delivery. It is a great airplane. It is serial number 10 and we've had a lot of "teething" problems; however Eclipse has stood up to the plate and corrected problems in an exemplary manner. Flying at 410 finally puts us above 99% of the weather, but my mission is changing and that leads me toward a Diamond D-Jet.
"A few years ago, I had occasion to go to Diamond's facility in Austria where I had the opportunity to fly in a prototype of the DA42 with Christian Dries. I liked the Twin Star's diesel power and its other technology so I put a deposit on one. I took delivery of the first US DA42 sold to an individual. After many enjoyable flights, I leased and then sold the aircraft back to Diamond so the airplane could be used as a platform for some innovative work the company was then starting involving high-resolution imaging and sensing."
"When I first learned of the D-JET, I let Peter Maurer and Christian know that I would be very interested in that airplane. I provided them some of my input about how I thought such an airplane should be designed. One of my safety concerns is how, over the years, the panels on airplanes keep getting taller and taller to the point that seeing out over the instrument panel and through the windscreen is difficult. When Peter showed me the D-JET mockup at its introduction a few years ago, I loved the cockpit layout the minute I sat in it."
"Getting in and out of the pilot and copilot seats is easy. The interior is very comfortable and roomy. Plus I can see out of it very well. I like to see where I'm going, enjoy the scenery and look out for traffic. This I think is a matter of safety."
"I also like the idea of the D-JET being designed to fly at lower altitudes and at 25,000 feet economically. (I also recommend that Diamond consider the merits of raising the D-JET's certified ceiling to 28,000 feet, which would provide slightly better speed and economy while still staying below RVSM requirements)."
"I can't think of an easier way than D-JET for someone to transition to flying a jet aircraft. The 25,000' ceiling, single engine operation with FADEC, the modern, proven avionics, the wide, comfortable cabin, great visibility, all combine to make this aircraft a very good airplane for the mission many people have. Add to this the economy you get in fuel and maintenance costs with single-engine operation. I think Diamond will be very successful with the D-JET."
"As for working with Diamond, I've had nothing but first-class treatment. I like the way Diamond does business. I think Peter Maurer is one of the best, most talented people in the industry. He's very knowledgeable and willing to take time to talk with me. I also appreciate being able to spend time with Christian, who I know is also very busy but he spent a lot of time with me so I appreciate that. And as I walked around the Diamond facilities and talked with people who work there, I came away feeling these people really know what they're doing and they build great airplanes."