No one manufacturer takes the industry by storm these days. Beech did it with the Bonanza in the ’40s and ’50s, Cessna rocked general aviation with the Skyhawk and Skylane in the ’60s, and Mooney rescued itself from bankruptcy with the outstanding 201 in the ’70s, but today’s market is so much smaller that any runaway success is unlikely, if not impossible. But Diamond is set to change all that.
When Diamond Aircraft of Weiner Neustadt, Austria, introduced the 2000 model Diamond DA40 Star, it was an instant standout among 180-hp, fixed-gear four-seaters. Much more than simply a stretched version of the two-seat DA20 trainer, the Star was a truly new airplane, although it wisely retained a strong family resemblance to the company’s popular two-seater. The DA20’s waspish empennage and T-tail were still there, as was the short chord, long-span, high-aspect ratio wing with upturned winglets. The Star also sported a forward-opening canopy, ventral fin and composite MT prop.