It’s hardly the first GA plane manufacturer to test the waters for a budget fighter trainer, but Diamond managed to surprise just about everyone with the introduction of its DART-450, which it calls a “Reconnaissance Trainer.” The turbine-powered DART-450 (Diamond Aircraft Reconnaissance Trainer) took off for its first flight this week, and Diamond said the sortie went well. The company claims the DART-450 is the first all-carbon-fiber tandem, 2-seat civilian and military trainer with a sidestick and pneumatic ejection seats.
The market that Diamond is going for is clearly whatever market it can find. While it’s not revealing many details of the plan, the company is clearly looking for the plane to be able to serve as a low-cost surveillance/maritime patrol platform, as well as an advanced trainer, in the same vein as the Beechcraft T6 Texan II. The +7/-5G Dart-450 has a maximum takeoff power of 500 hp. It’s equipped with a Ukrainian Ivchenko-Progress/Motor Sich AI-450S turboprop engine, a 5-blade MT propeller and a Garmin avionics system. Maximum endurance of the DART-450 is 8 hours, plus reserve.
On the first flight, Diamond said the plane flew for 60 minutes and at airspeeds between 60 and 200 knots IAS at various altitudes. The DART-450’s expected top speed is 250 knots TAS.
Notes Diamond Aircraft CEO Christian Dries, “Certification and serial production is green-lighted.”
To learn more, visit Diamond Aircraft atdiamond-air.at