Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

DA 42 In The Second Generation


The Diamond Twin Star now has its own Austro AE300 turbo diesel engines


In seeming obedience to the time-honored directive on how to make a small fortune in the airline industry (start with a large one), the major people movers of the world are having a progressively more difficult time staying in business. From the purveyors of all cheap seats to those with additional classes of expensive buckets, only a continuing series of consolidations has rescued several of the major lines from having to park their airplanes in the desert sun and try some other line of work. We can only wonder how long it will be before, no matter what the destination or stage length, we’ll all be flying on either Unideltamerica or Britluftqantas.

Perhaps surprisingly, the pilot market to fly such aircraft is still fairly strong. Airline flying may not be what it once was, but it’s still near the peak of the aviation pyramid. Pay is good, time off is plentiful and perks are generous. Airline flying remains perhaps the most sought-after and competitive job in aviation, and the universal means to that end is a commercial/ATP license, an instrument rating and a multi-engine ticket.

These days, there are three new models of twin-engine aircraft amenable to the trainer role, all readily available to the UNDs and Embry-Riddles of the world: the recently introduced Tecnam P2006T, still something of a newcomer in the industry; Piper’s evergreen Seminole, the preeminent twin trainer in intermittent production since 1978; and Diamond Aircraft’s DA42 Twin Star.

Classroom Or Boardroom
Of these, the Diamond Twin Star is perhaps equally applicable to both the owner-flown and training market. By now, most pilots know the story of the Twin Star’s growing pains, but even the original airplane was an excellent adaptation to the multi-engine training role and the owner-flown market.

Diamond Aircraft, based in Weiner Neustadt, Austria, marketed the majority of its airplanes in places where avgas already was becoming scarce, so it was no big surprise that the first Twin Star featured a pair of FADEC-controlled Thielert turbo diesels. These engines are operationally closer to jets than to piston powerplants in all aspects except price, and they’re designed specifically to burn jet fuel. Perhaps ironically, the turbo diesel engines aren’t certified to burn diesel fuel (assuming you could find any at airports).



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