Diamond Aircraft announced yesterday the first flight of its DA50 with a gear retraction. The flight presumably took place from the company’s headquarters in Wiener Neutstadt, Austria.
The DA50 is a carbon fiber five-seat, low-wing retractable gear single that will compete pretty closely with the Cirrus SR22. It has, claims Diamond, a larger cabin than any comparable single, and it runs on Jet-A with a typical long-range fuel flow of less than 10 gph, though Diamond is being tight-lipped about many of the details. How fast is it? What’s its range? How much will it cost? These are questions we have out to Diamond. We’ll update this story when we hear back.
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The engine in the DA50 is a Continental CD-300 V-6 diesel that spins the prop through a gear reduction mechanism to get 2,300 max rpm. The engine has been certificated both in Europe and the United States for many years, though it has not found a home in a production aircraft at this point. The DA-50 hopes to be the first. The CD-300 is available as a retrofit option for Cessna 182s. A few years ago Cessna was working on the introduction of a CD-300-powered Skylane but after teething problems with the program combined with the economic downturn, put the project on indefinite hiatus.
The DA50 isn’t a new model, either. In fact, it's been around in one form or another for more than a decade, but changes at Diamond, including new ownership and business model adjustments, put the design on the back burner for years, this despite there being a great deal of public interest in the project. A fast, fuel-efficient, capable personal transportation plane with a large cabin would almost certainly sell well.
Diamond hopes to earn certification for the plane by the summer of 2020.