- Aircraft History, Specification and Information -
Diamond DA42 Twin Star
Diamond DA-42 Twin Star - Ayjet Flight School - TC-AYE - Twin Engine Diesel Powered Aircraft - Izmir Airport, Turkey
Diamond DA-42 Twin Star
TC-AYE (sn 42.071)
Ayjet Flight School
Photo taken April 07, 2008
Izmir Adnan Menderes (Cumaovasi) Airport, Turkey (ADB / LTBJ)
Photo Copyright and Thanks to
Turker Hasimoglu
Diamond DA-42 Twin Star - CTC Aviation Group - G-CTCH - Twin Engine Diesel Airplane
Diamond DA-42 Twin Star
G-CTCH (cn 42.238)
CTC Aviation Group
Photo taken August 10, 2007
Bournemouth International (Hurn) Airport, UK - England (BOH / EGHH)
Photo Copyright and Thanks to
Howard J Curtis
Diamond DA-42 Twin Star Engine - Jet-A Burning Thielert Centurion 2.0 Engine
Diamond DA-42 Twin Star
Profile view of a Jet-A-burning Thielert Centurion 2.0 engine mounted on a green Twin Star. Looks like a pretty hefty package.
Photo taken February 28, 2008
Wiener Neustadt - Ost Airport, Austria (LOAN)
Photo Copyright and Thanks to
Boran Pivcic
Diamond DA-42 Twin Star - Air-Taxi Europe - D-GBBB - Twin Engine Diesel Aircraft
Diamond DA-42 Twin Star
D-GBBB (sn 42.055)
Air-Taxi Europe
Photo taken December 29, 2007
Bolzano (- Dolomiti / G. Sabelli) Airport, Italy (BZO / LIPB)
Photo Copyright and Thanks to
Stefano Capuzzo

The Diamond DA42 Twin Star is a four seat, twin engine, propeller-driven airplane manufactured by Diamond Aircraft Industries. Its airframe is molded largely of composite materials.

Development

The DA42 Twin Star was certified in Europe in 2004 and in the United States in 2005.

The airplane is made of carbon composite material. It is equipped with a Garmin G1000 glass cockpit. (A proof-of-concept version powered by two 180 hp (130 kW) Lycoming IO-360 engines also exists.)

The DA42 Twin Star was the first diesel-powered fixed wing aircraft to make a non-stop crossing of the North Atlantic, in 12.5 hours, with an average fuel consumption of 5.74 gallons per hour (2.87 gallons per hour per engine).

In June 2010 a DA42 powered by Austo AE300 engines became the first aircraft to be publicly flown on algae-derived jet fuel.

Powerplants

The DA42 was originally powered by two Thielert Centurion 1.7 diesel engines. Based on production Daimler Mercedes TDI automotive engines, Centurion aerodiesels are modified with propeller reduction drives and redundant hardware specific to aeronautical use. These engines can operate on diesel fuel, but according to TAE Centurion, Thielert's aircraft engine subsidiary, the company has elected to license the engines for jet fuel use only. In the United States, Jet-A or Jet-A1 fuel (or mixture) is used. A significant percentage of DA42s are used in flight training, where the aircraft is about 30% to 40% more fuel efficient than its main competitor, the Piper PA-44 Seminole, which uses 180 horsepower (130 kW) Lycoming engines to deliver similar cruise speeds and payloads.

Thielert Aircraft Engines ended its production of the 1.7 L. Centurion engines (designated as TAE 125-01 Centurion 1.7) in favour of a new 2.0 L. (TAE 125-02-99) engine. Diamond began installing this new 2.0 L. engine in early 2007. Although engine displacement increased, it was de-rated to produce the same horsepower (135) and torque (302 ft·lbf.) as the 1.7 L. engine.

In late 2007, Diamond aircraft announced it would begin building and installing its own aerodiesels, through a subsidiary, Austro Engine GmbH, and with other partners that included Mercedes Benz Technologies.

The future use of Thielert engines on the DA42 came into question due to Thielert filing for insolvency in April 2008.

In May 2008 Diamond Aircraft indicated that they were acquiring as many engine parts as possible from Thielert to ensure serviceability of the existing DA42 fleet. Negotiations between Diamond and Thielert failed to find a solution and Diamond informed its customers with Thielert engines that "Unfortunately, the insolvency administration has not accepted any part of our proposal."

In May 2008 Diamond Aircraft had more than thirty DA42 Twin Stars on the production line in London, Ontario waiting for engines to be available. Diamond planned to continue DA42 production, but warned customers at the time: "given the current situation, there may be unusual delays in service and response to technical inquiries."

On May 14, 2008 Thielert announced that it would no longer honour engine warranties for the engines installed in Diamond Aircraft. Owners who required warranty work were required to pay cash in advance for parts that they needed. The engine gearboxes must be inspected or replaced every 300 hours and Kuebler, the company handling Thielert's bankruptcy, offered new replacement gearboxes for US$16,000 and used, inspected ones for USD$7,800.

These gearboxes had to be paid for in advance and did not come with a warranty. At these prices, gearbox replacement, amortized over the life of the engine, threatened to more than double the cost of engine operation to over USD$100 per hour, plus fuel. Lycoming engines of similar horsepower cost less than USD$12 per hour to overhaul. This announcement caused a predictably negative reaction from Diamond DA42 owners. Diamond Aircraft attempted to honour the warranties in place of the engine manufacturer and commenced negotiations for parts and maintenance certification authority.

Due to the insolvency of Thielert and the decisions of the insolvency administrator, including cancelling warranty support and the prorating of time-between-overhaul for the Thielert engines that power the DA42, Diamond announced in July 2008 that production of the DA42 was suspended. At the time production was suspended the DA42 was reported to have 80 percent of the piston twin market.

In November 2008 Diamond Aircraft CEO Peter Maurer said the insolvency commissioner responsible for Thielert's restructuring had accepted that the eventual sale of the company would depend on product support. This lead to Thielert reducing the cost of parts and actively working on extending inspection and replacement requirements for gearbox clutches as well as other parts.

In November 2008 Diamond was still pursuing maintenance certification authority for the Thielert engines, developing its own line of Austro diesel engines and certification of the Lycoming O-360 powered DA42 all as possible solutions to the situation.

In March 2009 Diamond achieved EASA certification for the Austro Engine AE 300 and returned the DA42 to production as the DA42 NG. The new engine produces 20% more power, while giving better fuel economy than the Thielert engines and results in a higher gross weight and increased performance.

The first Austro-powered DA42 was delivered to a customer in Sweden in April 2009, with the first US customer aircraft expected in mid-2010. The Austro-powered DA42 NG received FAA certification on 9 April 2010.

Variants

  • DA42
    Production aircraft built in Austria and Canada
  • DA42 M
    Special Mission variant built in Austria, modification from standard DA42 and new production.
  • DA42 L360
    Lycoming IO-360 180 hp (134 kW) equipped version that will use 100LL fuel instead of Jet-A. Customer deliveries are forecast for early 2009 with an initial price of USD$599,500. This model is intended for the North American flight training market.
  • DA42 NG
    Austro Engine AE 300 170 hp (127 kW) equipped version. EASA certified March 2009; FAA certified April 2010.
  • DA42 MPP
    UK Ministry of Defence specified DA42 MPP variant for surveillance systems project, converted by DO Systems. Two ordered in June 2008.
  • Dominator II
    Aeronautics Defense Systems Ltd developed UAV version of the DA42, designated as the Aeronautics Defense Dominator and first flown in July 2009. Has an endurance of 28 hours with a 900 lb (408 kg) payload and speed of 75-190 knots (140-354 km/h) to a maximum altitude of 30,000 ft (9,144 m).

Operators

Civil operators

The DA42 is mainly operated by flying clubs, flight training schools and the following operators:

  • Canada - Sander Geophysics - 3
  • Germany - air-taxi europe - 2
  • United Kingdom - Diamond-Executive Aviation - 3

Military operators

  • Thailand - Royal Thai Air Force - 6 on order. Delivery in mid 2009.
  • United Kingdom - Royal Air Force - 2 DA-42MPP operated in 2008 and 2009 in surveillance role.

Specifications (DA42 Twin Star)

General characteristics
Crew: 1 pilot
Capacity: 3 passengers
Length: 8.56 m (28 ft 1 in)
Wingspan: 13.42 m (44 ft 0 in)
Height: 2.49 m (8 ft 2 in)
Wing area: 16.29 m² (175 ft²)
Empty weight: 1251 kg (2761 lb)
Gross weight: 1700 kg (3748 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × Thielert Centurion turbocharged diesel engine, 101 kW (135 hp) each

Performance
Maximum speed: 356 km/h (222 mph)
Range: 1693 km (1055 miles)
Service ceiling: 5486 m (18,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 6.5 m/s (1280 ft/min)

Last updated August 30, 2010
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Diamond DA42".
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