Plane & Pilot
Friday, December 1, 2006

New-Generation Trainer

Flight schools are oohing and aahing over Diamond’s sleek two-seaters

New Generation TrainerTraditional wisdom in the aircraft business has always been that if you could build the perfect trainer, the world would beat a path to your door. No airplane is perfect, but Diamond Aircraft may have come as close to that ideal as anyone with the Diamond DA20-C1 Eclipse.
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At this writing, there are only two other dedicated trainers being produced, the recent Liberty XL2 and the American Champion Aurora. The XL2 is a purpose-built aviation teaching machine in a similar configuration with the same engine, and it offers performance similar to that of the Diamond C1. The contrast between the C1 and the Aurora couldn’t be more pronounced, however. The tandem Aurora is a fabric-covered taildragger loosely derived from the old Champ, whereas the C1 is its own airplane, as modern as tomorrow. The C1 and XL2 have most of the aces in performance, whereas the Aurora wins the short-/soft-field competition.

It’s old versus new, and good arguments can be made for both types. If you prefer the classic handling of a tailwheel, the Aurora may be your bird, but if you’d rather benefit from 21st-century design and performance, the Diamond C1 Eclipse or Liberty XL2 may be the better bet.

SPECS: 2006 Diamond DA20-C1 Eclipse


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