Diamond Aircraft’s product family continues to grow, becoming larger and more complex. The company’s production sites are located in Wiener Neustadt (Austria), where research and development is also based, and in London, Ontario (Canada). Two subsidiaries, complete with service center, sales offices and hangar, are located in Egelsbach (Germany) and Gamston (Great Britain). At the present time, the company employs 400 people worldwide.
In order to ensure reasonable delivery time for its many orders, the main plant in Wiener Neustadt is now being expanded. A new plastics production shop, 10,400 m2 in size, is being set up for production of the twin-engine DA42 Twin Star and the D-JET. Ground for this will be broken in May 2003. An additional 130 employees will be hired in Austria for plastics production alone. By late 2004, the company expects to have a total of 600 employees engaged in aircraft production worldwide.
The Canadian plant will produce some 200 planes per year, focusing on the DA20-C1 and the DA40-180. In Europe, 400 aircraft per year, chiefly DA42 Twin Stars and DA40 TDIs and later also D-JETs, will be leaving the expanded production facilities by the time the final expansion stage is reached.
Expansion of the East in the course of admission of new EU member states, as well as the development of new markets like China, India and all of Asia, means that a prospective increase in sales of up to 25% may be expected for DAI in the next few years. According to Christian Dries, DAI’s CEO, “Even if they start out flying ultralight aircraft, after they’ve gotten their first flying experiences under their belts, many pilots will move on to larger planes.
Following an open invitation for bids, the US Air Force, over a period of 2 years, had its test pilots test planes of 11 aircraft manufacturers for optimal use in training. The result: The DA20-C1 was definitely the No. 1 recommendation and the DA40 Diamond Star the No. 2. Young US Air Force pilots have been training on Diamond Aircraft planes for over 5 months now. 37 planes have been ordered, 27 of which have already been delivered, with 10 more to follow.
A reference list of Diamond Aircraft’s customers: United States Air Force Academy; ARMÉE DE L’AIR, the French Air Force; the Indian Air Force; Lufthansa’s subsidiary INTERCOCKPIT; the United States Naval Academy; Utah Valley State College; THS, the Swedish Aviation School.
New Version of Katana
The Katana will now be equipped with the 110-HP Wankel engine. This engine, formerly made by Midwest, has belonged to the Diamond Group for some time and is now called the Diamond ENGINES. The airframe, based on the DA20-C1, has a single cockpit, is equipped with a COM NAV and fixed-pitch propeller as standard equipment and will be certified next year. In terms of operating costs, the 3,000-euro basic overhaul is extremely favorable, due to the small number of parts that need to be replaced. The aircraft is to be operated with 90 or 95 octane aviation gas.
The DA42 Twin Star
has over 45 flying hours. Serial No. 2 is already in operation. The plane has been tested in all areas. There are no more critical problems to be solved in this project. Single-engine climb rate above 12,000 ft is between 480 and 570 fpm. Twin-engine climb rate is from 1,800 fpm to 8,000 ft. Then it decreases to 1,000 fpm at flight level (FL) 180. The DA42 Twin Star is certified for up to FL 180. There is an optional pulse-controlled oxygen system that provides 105 hours for 1 person and correspondingly less for 4 persons.
Fuel consumption: Wiener Neustadt, Friedrichshafen: 2 hours at an average of 55 – 65% power with a total consumption of 52 liters. Standard equipment on the DA42 Twin Star is Garmin’s G1000 glass cockpit, which is a fully integrated cockpit. Certification is expected to be completed by late 2003, with delivery of the DA42 in early 2004.
An Additional Version of the DA42
is planned, the DA42 MPP (Multi Purpose Platform). A Wescam 16-inch camera is used to steer it to the right; the operator, who monitors the whole camera system, sits at the back. This version is equipped with a 280-liter tank. In the observer mode, 27% power per engine is achieved and at a speed of 85 – 90 knots the DA42 MPP remains in the air for over 24 hours.
These are Diamond Aircraft’s considerations for the D-JET: What will aviation be like in 5 – 10 years, what will certification conditions be and what requirements will have to be met, how can one fly from point to point most easily; the aircraft must be quiet enough to be allowed to land and, with only one motor, it must be the most reliable one available in its class.
Added to this is the fact that a jet motor is 77 times more reliable than a piston engine.
Euro control fees for under 2 tons will not be introduced until 2014. Diamond would like to build a plane that’s easy for any pilot to fly, appealing to a target group which, with only 300 – 400 hours of IFR flying experience, is capable of flying this aircraft. The price should be under 1 million euros. In order to achieve this, it must be capable of being built relatively easily and rapidly. So this is what the result would look like:
Diamond Aircraft’s D-JET should be equipped with a relatively low-pressure cabin having an internal cabin pressure equivalent to 5.2 PSI at 7,000 ft at a flight level of 25,000 ft. The airfoil is not especially critical but should have a low resistance; the laminar airfoil used is indicated as optimally suitable for a speed of around Mach 0.5 at 315 knots. Here we’re not talking about a jet in the usual sense but, rather, about a faster aircraft that has a jet motor because it’s the safest engine. The rear seat for 3 persons corresponds to that of the economy class of an Airbus A340 without armrests. The engine will be decided on in the fall and will be either Williams or Pratt & Whitney.
Orders have already been received for 137 DA42 Twin Stars and 70 D-JETs; the DA40 TDI is sold out for the present and new orders come in daily.