Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Diamond Aircraft’s Austria Home

A visit to the factory at Wiener Neustadt and a tour of the Austro Engine Plant

The AE300 is the engine used in the DA42 MPP Guardian and in other Diamond products like the DA42 NG, DA42-VI and DA40 NG. The engine itself starts from a Mercedes engine block, which Austro then transforms into an aircraft configuration. At the factory, there's an extremely interesting series of engines on stands that display the various steps in going from the Mercedes block to the final AE300.

The AE50R is based on the Wankel concept and, like the AE300, is fully aviation certified. In addition to the AE300 and AE50R, Austro has several other engines under development using the same auto-to-aero concept, as well as completely new developments.

Austro has a series of pristine assembly stations and test cells to develop and run in the engines, all contained in an impressive, modern, environmentally friendly facility.

After the tours of both facilities, Feinig offers the opportunity of a demo flight in a DA42. While this isn't a pilot report, it's fair to say that the flight is both impressive and fun, and it's a pleasure to see the product of both Diamond and Austro in action. With its stick and EECU engine controls, the DA42 has aspects that give it both a military and turbine feel. The glass cockpit is also impressive, but I must admit a reversion to the basic instruments when Feinig lets me fly a bit, and then follows me closely on a landing back at LOAN.

We put OE-VDK back in the hangar and I say goodbye to Feinig. As I head back to Vienna to begin my journey back to the U.S., I have some time to reflect on what I learned.

Diamond is aggressively marketing its aircraft worldwide. It will do alright through the recession, and with the Austrian economy being one of the strongest in Europe, it will ride out what comes along for the Euro zone. However, I'm left with a feeling of some sadness. As good as their current products are, Diamond and Austro have new products and ideas that have been delayed to the current state of economic affairs, and the world's aviation community is the overall loser to have the Diamond and Austro items postponed.

George Moore is an aviation attorney and a member of the Bar in California and Colorado, and various federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He's also a licensed Professional Engineer in California and holds a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Moore holds a commercial license, airplane single-engine land and sea, with an instrument rating.


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