Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Diamond DA40 XLS: Premier Edition

Premier Aircraft of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has created its own ultra version of the Diamond DA40 XLS

Diamond D-Jet: Still In The VLJ Hunt

Was it really only a half-dozen years ago that there were nearly a baker's-dozen VLJs pro-posed or under development? It seemed every-one had a small jet on the drawing board in those days. Now, most of those airplanes have been relegated to the dust bins of history. At this writing, there are only three that are still under active development: the Piper Altaire, Cirrus Vision and Diamond D-Jet, all more-than-coincidentally single-engine airplanes. (The Cessna Mustang and Embraer Phenom 100 are certified and flying, but they're hardly VLJs. The Eclipse 500, though certified, is still a question mark, and the Honda Jet's seating capacity (seven), speed (420 knots) and price ($4.5 million) will place it well out of the VLJ class.)

On the premise that less may be more, Diamond is deliberately aiming low with the D-Jet. It's perhaps the least ambitious of the VLJs, intended to sell for less than $1.5 million. Diamond hopes to certify the D-Jet at only 25,000 feet rather than the more typical 35,000 feet, and the target cruise speed has been set at 315 knots, burning about 70 gph. With 5.5 psi pressurization at its proposed certified max altitude, the D-Jet should provide an 8,000-foot cabin for up to five occupants at max altitude.

Diamond recently announced that it has obtained commitment for a significant investment exclusively dedicated to the D-Jet development program. This investment will enable Diamond to recall furloughed engineering and technical staff, resume flight-test operations and proceed toward building the next test aircraft, subject to finalization of closing arrangements.


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