Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Fourth Time’s A Charm
In its fourth iteration, Diamond’s DA42-VI is a far better twin
Out on the wings, the curved TKS anti-ice panels that cover the leading edges were reworked to bond flush with the wings, a major concern since drag is most critical in that area. Diamond claims another 2.5 knots from the flush TKS panels.
At the wing-trailing edge, Diamond added flushed and faired aileron and flap hinge fairings. The DA42-VI also received roughly 240 replacement flush-mounted screws on the wingtips and tail to replace the raised head hardware on the previous NG version. During flight testing of the improvements, Diamond discovered that the boarding assist steps presented slightly less drag if they were reversed, so Diamond simply turned them 180 degrees.
Diesels burn jet fuel, so they cleverly side-step considerations of fuel availability, since jet fuel is becoming readily available worldwide.The rudder was redesigned to enhance directional stability, and the T-tailed stabilator improved to provide a five-knot reduction in minimum, single-engine control speed, better known as Vmc. That, in turn, allowed a shorter takeoff run.
Inside the cabin, Diamond made a number of improvements designed to increase comfort for pilots and passengers. To help counter high temperatures, Diamond upholstered the seats with a new type of leather that includes a radiant barrier designed to repel heat. The seats offer recline and lumbar support, as well, and they're enclosed within a cabin that's 50 inches wide. Backseat passengers also enjoy a foot enclosure on the floor that extends slightly forward, below the front seats.
There's a new rooftop-mounted air distribution system that can channel air-conditioning or standard outside cooling air into the cockpit. The baggage compartment benefitted from new hinges and a better door seal that allows the door to close tighter for less drag. Sun visors are an option.
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