Plane & Pilot
Saturday, May 1, 2004

Diamond Goes Glass

First to market with the Garmin G1000, the new DA40 Star is out of the gate

Diamond Goes GlassNo one manufacturer takes the industry by storm these days. Beech did it with the Bonanza in the ’40s and ’50s, Cessna rocked general aviation with the Skyhawk and Skylane in the ’60s, and Mooney rescued itself from bankruptcy with the outstanding 201 in the ’70s, but today’s market is so much smaller that any runaway success is unlikely, if not impossible. But Diamond is set to change all that. " />

Cessna’s fixed-gear Cutlass can trace its roots to 1983, but today’s Skyhawk SP is proving almost as popular as the straight 172R. The newest iteration of the Grumman-American Tiger, simply called the New Tiger, re-creates the happy, little airplane we all loved in the ‘70s and early ‘90s without reinventing the wing. SOCATA’s TB-10 Tobago offers the largest cabin in the class, supported by essentially the same wing and fuselage used on all the French Caribbean singles, including the popular Trinidad retractable. Finally, the Maule MX7180A is one of Maule’s myriad of handmade models, available in your choice of nosegear or tailwheel.

Yet, the new Diamond Star offers better performance numbers in virtually all areas. In addition to providing something none of the others have (a rear entry door), the new Diamond enjoys virtually all the performance advantages: climb, speed and service ceiling. Such numbers have helped the Star to a sterling sales record by the standards of the current market. As this is written, Diamond has delivered some 285 Stars in only four years of production. That’s nearly 75 airplanes a year, a sales record most companies would envy. The current production rate is eight per month.

Now, Diamond Aircraft has opted for a further improvement. By the time you read this, Diamond will be delivering new Stars fitted with the Garmin G1000 Integrated Avionics System. For 2004, Diamond will offer a standard VFR airplane at $188,900 and a G1000-equipped, IFR airplane at $224,900. That’s a delta of $36,000, only about $25,000 of which is directly attributable to the G1000 do-everything navcom system.

Specifically, the G1000 system consists of a 10-inch primary flight display (PFD) dedicated to aircraft attitude and flight conditions and a 10-inch display committed to navigational awareness and all parameters of engine/systems condition. In computer terms, both are XGA-quality, high-resolution (1024 x 768) screens, capable of readouts in a bewildering variety of colors.

More than that, however, the G1000 incorporates all avionics and engine readouts into central locations and displays such exotica as NEXRAD weather radar, TAWS terrain awareness and TIS (Traffic Information System), and a mode-S data uplink of ATC traffic information.


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