“Without innovation enabled by technological advancement, general aviation will fail to respond to opportunities for expanded use and is destined to continue its decline.”
—NASA , General Aviation Task Force Report, September 1993
Over A Quarter Century Of Innovation
As early as 1989, Diamond’s founder, Christian Dries, unknowingly shared the vision with NASA’s leadership, of advanced technology making general aviation safer, more convenient, more efficient and more environmentally friendly. Compared to continued innovation in the automotive industry from which he came, Christian Dries was disenchanted with the lack of advanced features in piston aircraft he could buy. He saw demand for aircraft designs based on modern technology, transfer of innovations from other industries and the possibility to make aircraft easier and safer to fly.
A short five years later, the very first customer aircraft produced in Diamond’s London, Ontario facility was the fully certified aerodynamically slick DA20 “KATANA”, an all composite two seat sportster, powered by a modern liquid cooled ROTAX 912 engine with electronic ignition and certified for MOGAS operation, and equipped with a GPS 150 from avionics newcomer GARMIN, alongside its DME and ADF. That was over 20 years ago and today we continue the path of innovation, not for its own sake, but for the sake of improved performance, efficiency, environmental responsibility and, above all, safety.
NASA’s vision in 1994
When NASA’s leadership envisioned the aircraft of the future in 1994, they imagined a “Next-generation general aviation cockpit with single lever power control. The system will utilize a computer that provides up-to-date weather reports, the latest in airways and facilities information, and map displays that point out restricted areas, terrain hazards, airports, and airspace conditions.”
That was in 1994 – today we have all of that and more – active traffic, synthetic vision, ESP (electronic stability and protection) and the list goes on. Diamond is the only GA piston manufacturer to fully deliver on this vision. Diamond’s Austro powered singles and twins incorporate leading edge technology, not just in their avionics and airframes, but powerplants too.
Innovation and industry leadership mean saying “no” to doing things the way it’s been done before. With Diamond’s proprietary AUSTRO jetfuel piston engines, that means no manual mixture control, no magneto ignition, no manual priming, no prop control lever, no hard starting – hot or cold, no manual runup tests, no shock cooling, no cowl flaps, no power calculations based on rpm and manifold pressure, in short, less work and zero guesswork – more efficiency in every regard.
The redundant full authority digital engine control of Diamond’s proprietary AUSTRO engines takes the guesswork out of powerplant management and offers simplified operation, on the ground and in the air. There is only one power lever per engine and actual power is displayed in percent power on the fully integrated Garmin G1000. Annunciations are clear and accurate with resettable and recorded audio and visual cautions and warnings that let you focus outside.
Our twins feature auto-feather that requires actuation of a single switch to fully secure an inoperative engine. It simply couldn’t be simpler or more fuel efficient.
Maintenance on our Austro engines is done like on most modern engines used today (automotive, recreational, industrial and agricultural) – by hooking up a computer and downloading the history and faultcodes. Pre-emptive diagnostics detect issues before they develop into problems and that enhances safety and gives more peace of mind.
On top of all that, our engines burn much less fuel, have extended maintenance intervals, use unleaded as well as cheaper and globally available jetfuel and run smoother and quieter.
That is Propulsion Innovation!
Arguably, all OEM’s have access to the same avionics technology, however some adopt quicker than others. Since our first DA20, delivered in January of 1995, we have never delivered an aircraft without GPS. Why? Because GPS offered superior situational awareness and safety then, as it does now. Diamond continually adopts the latest avionics that present meaningful enhancements to safety and performance. In 2001, Diamond was the first OEM to commit to Garmin’s then top secret fully integrated G1000, selected as an integral key part of the indisputable GA technology leader, the DA42 TWINSTAR, first delivered in 2005.
As ground breaking as the first G1000 was, we recognized the importance of the G1000 as the foundation for the developments to follow. Since then we pioneered GARMIN Synthetic Vision Technology on the DA40, adopted Enhanced Stability & Protection as standard on our twins, and were early adopters of the razor sharp GFC 700 Automatic Flight Control System, WAAS, Traffic Advisory Systems, Satlink Weather and more.
Modern Avionics. Modern Airframe. Modern Propulsion. That’s Diamond, today.
What About The Future?
We believe we’re at the beginning of a technical revolution in personal aviation. Continued advancement of technologies, especially in computing, propulsion, energy storage and management, will enable features that today may seem as farfetched as the iPhone did in 2005, but in reality may not be that far away. Although there is much concern about our ever decreasing pilot population, our view is that new advances will open the possibility of personal flight to a new and larger group of people.
Electric flight? Hybrid Aircraft? Autolandings? Autonomous flight?
Innovative Research and Development
November 2015 Marignane, France
Airbus Helicopters H120 First Flight with AUSTRO AE 440 Power.
The AE440 has evolved from a joint development endeavor as part of the European Union’s Clean Sky Program in the category Green Rotor Craft led by AIRBUS Helicopters and its partners TEOS Powertrain Engineering and AUSTRO ENGINE Airbus Helicopters, TEOS Powertrain Engineering and Austro Engine GmbH.
Airbus Helicopters has successfully completed the first flight test of the high-compression engine demonstrator aircraft on November 6th, at Marignane Airport. The development and flight test of this new technology demonstrator is part of the European Clean Sky initiative’s Green Rotorcraft Integrated Technology Demonstrator (ITD) program, with support provided by the consortium of TEOS Powertrain Engineering and Austro Engine GmbH.
“The first result of the 30 minutes flight confirms the advantages of new-technology high-compression piston engines for rotorcraft in offering reduced emissions; up to 50% lower fuel consumption depending on duty cycle, nearly doubled range and enhanced operations in hot and high conditions”, said Tomasz Krysinski, Head of Research and Innovation at Airbus Helicopters.
Integrated into an H120, the 4.6-liter high-compression piston engine incorporates numerous technologies already applied on advanced self-ignition engines, and runs on widely-available kerosene fuel used in aviation turbines. Its V8 design has the two sets of cylinders oriented at a 90 deg. angle to each other, with a high-pressure (1800 bar) common-rail direct injection and one turbocharger per cylinder bank.
June 2013 Paris International Airshow
Diamond DA36 E-Star 2, Demonstrates Commercial Viability of Serial Hybrid Electric Drive
Diamond Aircraft, Siemens, Austro Engine and EADS present a further development of the World’s First Serial Hybrid Electric Aircraft. The propeller of the motor glider is electrically driven by a hybrid system, consisting of an Integrated Drive System from Siemens and a generator that is powered by a small Austro Engine rotary engine. The DA36 E-Star 2’s drive system provides an output of 107 hp (80 kW) during takeoff and a continuous output of 87 hp (65 kW). The electric motor weighs just 28.6 lbs (13 kg). At 3 hp/ lb (5 kW/kg), its specific continuous output is twice that of the first prototype and about five times greater than that of a typical industrial electric motor. The power electronics and gearbox are integrated into the electric motor and included in the weight stated. For takeoff and climbing, additional energy is drawn from a battery which is recharged during cruising. This battery is provided by EADS Innovation Works, the corporate research and technology network of EADS.
“The technology is scalable and will soon be making its way into small aircraft and in the future, commercial aircraft with 50 to 100 passengers, making aviation ‘greener’,” said Ralf-Michael Franke, CEO of Siemens Drive Technologies Division.
December 2012 Austria
Diamond’s DA42 flies with “electronic parachute”
Diamond Aircraft successfully tested the first fly-by-wire system for General Aviation on the twin-engine DA42.
The system enables flight envelope protection which protects the pilot from unintentional flight manoeuvres that could lead to structural or aerodynamical overstressing of the aircraft. Furthermore the aircraft should be able to land automatically in case of incapacity of the pilot in a single pilot operation. Fly-by-wire is already part of every big airliner like Airbus or Boeing and Diamond Aircraft expects a big increase in safety.
The tests take place within the EU project SAFAR (Small Aircraft Future Avionics Architecture) with partners from Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Spain and Belgium.
In the long run the company is working on fully automatic take-off, flight and landing for every DA42 and other aircraft models.
Euronews has produced an interesting documentary on this project that can be watched online:
June 2011 Paris International Airshow
Diamond DA36 E-Star, World's First Serial Hybrid Electric Aircraft
Diamond Aircraft, Siemens, Austro Engine and EADS presented the world’s first aircraft with a serial hybrid electric drive system. The heavily modified Diamond HK36 motorglider serves as a test bed for technologies that are intended to develop into use on large-scale aircraft to cut fuel consumption and emissions by 25 percent, compared to today’s most efficient aircraft.
The E-STAR’s propeller is driven by a 94 hp (70 kW) Siemens electric motor. Electricity is produced by a Siemens generator driven by a small AUSTRO rotary engine operating at a constant low output of only 40 hp (30 kW). A Siemens controller regulates the distribution of electrical power between charging the EADS supplied battery system and driving the electric motor. By using the low power internal combustion engine at constant peak efficiency, overall emissions and fuel consumption are significantly reduced, yet full power is available by drawing from the batteries during takeoff and climb, then recharging them again during the cruise phase that requires less power. Quiet pure electric take-offs are possible due to the capacity of the battery system.
June 2010 ILA Berlin
World Premiere: First Flights of an Aircraft Powered by Pure Algae Biofuel
A Diamond DA42 NG aircraft, equipped with Diamond’s proprietary Austro AE 300 engines, flew at the Berlin Air Show with pure biofuel produced from algae.
Not only did the higher energy content of the fuel reduce the fuel consumption by 1.5 l / hr, the exhaust CO2 emissions roughly equal the CO2 absorbed by the algae during their growth, opening the possibility of carbon neutral flight. In addition, nitrogen oxide emissions are reduced by up to 40% and sulfur oxide emissions are down to 10 ppm compared to 600 ppm for conventional Jet-A1-fuel.
Read the brochure from EADS for more information by clicking here (PDF).
May 2008 Berlin ILA
Boeing Phantom Works and Diamond present the world’s first manned aircraft powered by a hydrogen fuel cell that emits nothing more than waste heat and water vapour. The aircraft, a highly modified Diamond HK36 Motorglider, serves to demonstrate technology that may result in cleaner APU’s for commercial aircraft of the future.
On The Horizon
Turbine Powered DA60
The single turboprop with room for up to seven passengers bears the name “DA60-JP7” (JP for Jet Prop). The airplane will be manufactured in two different versions. The Tundra variant with big wheels and rugged landing gear is perfect for uneven strips and rough terrain. The second version is targeting training and private customers requiring high performance. The DA60-JP7 is perfectly suited for operations in harsh climates with temperatures ranging from minus 50°C to plus 50°C
For more please see:
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