Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Diamond's Twin For 2012


The Diamond DA42 comes with your choice of Lycoming GASOLINE or Austro diesel engines



Similar to the DA40 Diamond Star, the DA42 has an aft left back door for ease of passenger entry and exit, a feature not found on any other four-seat single or twin. The modern aircraft design features swept, raked cowlings and long, glider-like, high-aspect-ratio wings with swept winglets at the tips.
If you learned to fly in conventional, all-metal, avgas-powered airplanes sometime back in the last century as I did, the Diamond models look like something conceived by Lucas and Spielberg. All the Diamonds feature composite construction that provides otter-sleek surfaces and a configuration more reminiscent of the Millennium Falcon than an air-breathing teaching machine.

Make no mistake, this is one plush trainer, beautifully constructed, exquisitely appointed and meticulously engineered. There's more leather in sight than in a rock star's closet, space in front and back is generous, and knobs and switches have a distinctly professional feel. Also, like the DA40 Diamond Star, the DA42 has an aft left back door, a feature not shared by any other four-seat single or twin.

The DA42 offers a double dose of aerodynamic and ergonomic sophistication with swept, raked cowlings; a fuselage as slick as Murano glass; long, glider-like, high-aspect-ratio wings with swept winglets at the tips; a 50-inch-wide front cockpit; single-lever power controls and conventional joysticks springing from the forward, center seat cushions for pitch and roll control.

That last feature might seem an anachronism in this age of more modern side sticks, but while joysticks date back to the Wrights, they continue to be arguably the most effective and comfortable method of directing a general aviation aircraft.

My mentor on all things aviation was the late Roy LoPresti, father of the Mooney 201 and 231, Grumman American Cheetah, Tiger and Cougar, and VP of engineering on the Beech team that got the Starship certified. When it came to control system, LoPresti was a stickler on sticks, and it's revealing that LoPresti's choice for the upcoming Fury homebuilt was a center stick. I'm no expert on flight control design, but I'm allowed to fly center sticks, yokes and side sticks on a regular basis, and unless I'm granted the front seat of an F-16, I'll take a center stick every time. (The F-15 Eagle, almost universally regarded as the world's best jet fighter, uses a center stick.)
If you learned to fly in conventional, all-metal, avgas-powered airplanes sometime back in the last century, the Diamond models look like something conceived by Lucas and Spielberg.
One peripheral benefit of the FADEC system is that starts are pretty much automatic, whether it's hot or cold. The electronics take care of most of the usual chores except for closing the hatch and fastening your seat belt. The airplane comes off the blocks with minimum breakaway power, and you can taxi on even less. Pretakeoff checks are few and simple, again with the help of FADEC. The airplane even does its own runup.



Labels: Piston Twins

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