I have had my eye on this one for a while, for the simple reason that should I be the lucky winner of the Euro Millions, this would probably be the “IT” purchase. The thing that will immediately grab your attention is that it looks nothing like you have ever seen before. I like that a lot. The Diamond manufacturers are innovative and not afraid to try way-out-there design, and at the same time, tantalising today’s pilot, with airliner style modernity.
Not only do these aircraft look cool, it is clearly evident that the design focuses on every possible aspect of aerodynamics, not surprising, considering they also design gliders! The aerodynamics contribute significantly to the speed gains, making this a really sleek operator. Operating on 2 170hp Austro Engine AE3t00 Jet Fuel Piston Engines, power availability is clearly not a problem, and although jet fuel is pricey, fuel efficiency is outstanding with 11.75 hours maximum endurance at 35% Power / 6.5 gph (18,000 ft, ISA), and if you want a more realistic economy cruise, you can get 152 ktas at 60% Power / 10.3 gph (12,000 ft, ISA). Personally, I like speed, and at 188 VNE, this is certainly a lot faster than anything that I have had the privilege of wrapping my hands around the controls of, and therefore makes me desire the opportunity even more!
What I really like, is the pilot centred approach, which in turn increases safety. Although I am trying my best to get my bottom, at the very least, seated in one (I promise to share the experience with you all when I do!), I am completely convinced from what I have seen, that this is one comfortable aircraft, with a cockpit full of super avionics that will reduce workload and make it a pleasure to fly. The obvious advantage, is that it is easy to convert from a single engine to this twin – as much as possible, systems are simplified, clearly indicated and practically positioned. The modern avionics also make this a fantastic twin for training, making the transition to airlines and glass cockpit flying a familiar experience. Please also notice the wonderful way in which the canopy opens – incredibly well designed, especially for those that are less than flexible…
Single engine operation is simply incredible, it will not just maintain altitude on one engine, but is actually capable of climbing on one engine! Similarly, for those living at hot and high altitudes, high density altitudes are not a problem, and advanced TKS ice protection will ensure that icing is not an issue.
What is probably most appealing once up in the air, are the all-round views from the canopy – isn’t this what flying should be about? If you want to give it a try, I would suggest popping into to Aeronav Academy at Lanseria, not only will they let you come and drool, but offer training on the DA42 Twinstar.