Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hope Springs Eternal

A look at new single-pilot turbines

Diamond D-Jet

Diamond D-Jet

The D-Jet isn't meant to be a miniaturized business jet. Instead, it's optimized for short- to medium-range missions, low acquisition and operating cost, efficiency in the lower flight levels, and insurability for single-pilot owner-operators. Systems simplicity and high aerodynamic stability coupled with autopilot flight-envelope protection and lower altitude performance make the aircraft more suitable for pilots with moderate levels of proficiency and experience who may be moving up from piston aircraft.

The single-engine, all-composite, 5,650-pound D-Jet will cruise at 315 ktas, be certified to a ceiling of FL 250 and have a range of 1350 nm at a long-range power setting. With surprisingly spacious seating for four (five optional), the D-Jet incorporates a 1,900-pound thrust, FADEC-controlled Williams FJ33-5A turbofan and Garmin G1000 avionics.

D-Jet development hit a speed bump in 2008 when Diamond was faced with the bankruptcy of Thielert, which supplied engines for the DA42 twin. The cost of developing and certifying the new Austro diesel engine and the new DA42NG aircraft diverted funds from the D-Jet program. New development stalled while the company dealt with these issues in a slow economy.

Today, Diamond is close to signing an agreement with an undisclosed financial partner in order to ramp D-Jet development back into full swing sometime in mid-October. Technically, the program is in great shape, and 215 orders are on the books. Diamond already has three prototypes flying with performance flight testing already restarted in early September. If everything goes according to plan, type certification can be achieved in about two years with first deliveries starting shortly afterward. The current price of the D-Jet is $1.89 million in 2008 dollars with a CPI price escalator. Contact:

Manufacturer Model Max Cruise Speed (kts) Max Altitude # Seats # Engines Engine Max Range (nm) Current Price
($ million)
Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet 300 FL 280 6/7 1 FJ33-5A 1440 1.72
Diamond D-Jet 315 FL 250 4/5 1 FJ33-5A 1350 1.38
Eclipse E500 375 FL 410 6 2 PW615F 1125 2.15
Epic LT 310 FL 280 6 1 PT6A-67A 1300 @ 230 ktas 1.9
Epic Escape 365? FL 280 4/5 1 Honeywell TPE331-10 1800 1.24
Kestrel (TBD) 325 FL 280 6-8 1 Honeywell TPE331-14GR 1300 @ max cruise 2.8
Piper Altaire 360 FL 350 6/7 1 FJ44-3AP 1300 2.5
Stratos 714 400+ FL 410 4/5   FJ44-3AP 1500 2,0


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