Diamond D-Jet

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D-JET
Diamond D-jet C-FPTM OSH 30.07.10R edited-2.jpg
The second prototype D-jet exhibited at the EAA Convention in July 2010
Role Civil passenger jet
Manufacturer Diamond Aircraft Industries
First flight 18 April 2006
Status Development suspended (Feb 2013)
Number built 3 prototypes[1]
Unit cost
forecast US$1.89 million (March 2009)[2]

The Diamond D-JET is a composite, five-seat, single-engine jet aircraft developed by Diamond Aircraft Industries.[3] The intended cost was advertised as US$1.89 million dollars in March 2009.[2]

By February 2013 the aircraft's development program was suspended pending company reorganization and the D-Jet workforce had been laid off. In May 2014 the company confirmed that the project remained suspended, but not cancelled.[4][5]

The December 2016 sale of a majority share of Diamond Aircraft Canada to Wanfeng Aviation of China will result in a re-assessment of the D-Jet program for possible resumption of development.[6]

Design and development[edit]

Diamond targeted the design at the owner-pilot market, seeing it as more practical for single-pilot operations than the Eclipse 500 and the Cessna Citation Mustang. By limiting the altitude to 25,000 feet, pressurization failures would be less critical emergencies, too. Diamond intends the D-JET to have a lower operating cost than other very light jets[citation needed].

On November 9, 2006, at the AOPA Expo in Palm Springs, California, United States, Diamond announced that ATP Flight School (ATP) had placed the first fleet order for 20 Diamond D-JETs. The intention at that time was that ATP would provide factory-approved training to D-JET purchasers beginning in 2008.[7] Toronto-based Chartright Air Group ordered 10 D-JET aircraft with expected delivery beginning 2010.[8]

In February, 2008 Diamond announced that the aircraft will be built in a new plant in London, Ontario, Canada. This announcement came after the Government of Canada announced it was giving the company a “Cdn$19.6 million strategic, repayable investment” and the Government of Ontario announced that it had given the company Cdn$11 million. Diamond claims that research and development costs for the D-JET have been Cdn$95.2 million and that the plant to build the aircraft will cost an additional $100 million.[9]

In October 2008 Canadian charter operator SwiftJet announced that they had ordered five D-Jets with options for ten more. SwiftJet's intention is to offer air taxi service "anywhere and anytime to destinations around the world." SwiftJet currently operates one Dassault Falcon 20 in the charter role.[10][11]

The Government of Ontario loan was contingent on a matching loan from the federal Canadian government, which was not approved and so the 213 laid off employees were not rehired.[12]

The D-JET was initially to be powered by one Williams FJ33-4A-15 turbofan engine. That 1,564 lbf (6.96 kN) thrust engine was found in early 2008 to produce insufficient bleed air for cabin pressurization and other services. As a result, a decision was made to switch to the Williams FJ33-4A-19 turbofan engine, which produces 1,900 lbf (8.5 kN) of thrust instead.[13]

The switch in engines delayed the certification schedule and moved the projected first customer deliveries of the aircraft into the spring of 2009.[13]

Diamond is also developing a military trainer variant of the D-JET that will likely feature Martin-Baker lightweight ejection seats and is intended to sell for under US$3M.[14]

The first flight of the D-JET was made on 18 April 2006 from the London International Airport (ICAO: CYXU) in Ontario, Canada the homebase of Diamond’s North American division. The flight was piloted by test pilot Gérard Guillaumaud and lasted 1:06 hours. The aircraft's public debut was at Oshkosh in July 2006.[15][16] At that time Diamond expected certification to be complete by the middle of 2009 with deliveries starting at the same time.[17]

The Diamond D-JET, partially assembled at the Oakland NBAA, November 8, 2007.

On 20 July 2007 Diamond Aircraft announced the roll out of its second D-JET, serial number 002. Serial number 002 is the first D-JET intended to conform to the expected production configuration in its structural layout and aerodynamic design. D-JET prototype serial number 002 first flew on 14 September 2007. It was joined by D-JET Serial Number 003, which first flew on April 15, 2008.[18]

Flight testing and program development was halted in the spring of 2011 as the company lacked funds to proceed. After a failed campaign for federal government support, private investment was found and test flight resumed in September 2011.[19][20][21]

In July 2012 the company announced that 700 hours of flight testing had been completed, reaching Mach 0.56 (346 kn (641 km/h) true airspeed) along with 30,000 pressurization cycles on a test fuselage. Winglets were added to the aircraft to improve roll control at all speeds, especially in the stall. With that addition the design was frozen and the company commenced building production tooling for the fourth serial number. At this time certification was forecast for late in 2013 with production deliveries to commence in the third quarter of 2014.[22][23][24]

In mid-April, Maurer indicated that other companies had been hiring their laid-off workers, especially engineers. Piper Aircraft announced that as many as 25 engineers may be moving to Vero Beach, Florida to work on the Piper Altaire jet. Media reports also indicated that Bombardier Aerospace may have made offers to 85 workers to work on the Learjet 85 in Wichita, Kansas. Maurer said that the loss of laid-off workers will hurt a restart of the D-Jet program should government funding be approved and described the situation as "dire".[25]

At the end of April 2011, Maurer issued a public appeal in the London Free Press for the C$35M loan from the Government of Canada, indicating that if it was not forthcoming that the company might cease operations. Maurer also indicated that the hiring of his laid-off staff by competing firms might led to its termination regardless, saying "With the loss of this team, the building of a replacement team would add cost and time that the program and company may not survive." By mid-May, the company had hired back 11 engineers to prevent other companies picking them up and was hoping to have a decision on the federal loan request after a new cabinet is sworn in.[26][27][28]

In analyzing the declining of the loan, Joseph D'Cruz of the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management indicated that in his opinion the government made the right decision in turning Diamond down. He said, "It's such a high risk, nobody in their right mind would invest...That particular market for that aircraft is a relatively small market and it's unproven....Could this jet go ahead without government assistance? The answer is a definite 'no,' because it's not viable without the federal government."[29]

In late May 2011, Maurer said that he had always considered the Canadian government loans a "long shot" and that the company was looking at other sources of funding to bring the D-Jet to market, including potential Chinese investment. On 14 June 2011, the company announced that it secured private financing from an unnamed source and started recalling its workers, indicating that it would build an extra test aircraft and resume flight testing. Flight testing started again in early September 2011.[19][20][21]

In late February 2013, having not located further operational funding after the failed sale to Medrar in 2011, the company laid off the majority of its Canadian staff and suspended work on the D-Jet program, indicating that the company needed to reorganize. By May 2014, work on the D-Jet remained suspended, but the project had not been cancelled.[4][5] The program remained suspended in February 2016.[30]

Due to the sale of a majority share of Diamond Aircraft Canada to Wanfeng Aviation of China in December 2016 a re-assessment of the D-Jet program for possible resumption of development will be conducted.[6]

Specifications (D-JET)[edit]

Data from Diamond Aircraft[3]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one, pilot
  • Capacity: four passengers
  • Length: 10.7 m (35 ft 1 in)
  • Wingspan: 11.5 m (37 ft 9 in)
  • Height: 3.6 m (11 ft 10 in)
  • Gross weight: 2,320 kg (5,115 lb)
  • Fuel capacity: 789.25 kg (1,740 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Williams FJ33-4A-19 turbofan, 8.5 kN (1,900 lbf) thrust

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 583 km/h (362 mph; 315 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 444 km/h (276 mph; 240 kn)
  • Range: 2,500 km (1,553 mi; 1,350 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 7,600 m (24,900 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 8.467 m/s (1,666.7 ft/min)
  • Time to altitude: 7,620 m (25,000 ft) in 15 minutes

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

References[edit]

  1. ^ Transport Canada (12 December 2016). "Canadian Civil Aircraft Register". Retrieved 12 December 2016. 
  2. ^ a b D-JET Program Update, pg 3. Last accessed 8 August 2009.
  3. ^ a b Diamond Aircraft (n.d.). "Djet". Retrieved 2008-02-14. 
  4. ^ a b Niles, Russ (25 February 2013). "Diamond Lays Off Most Staff, Suspends D-JET". AVweb. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Durden, Rick (9 May 2014). "Diamond Aircraft Recalling Laid-Off Workers". AVweb. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Chinese Firm Buys Majority Interest in Diamond Canada (Updated))". AVweb. 18 December 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2016. 
  7. ^ "ATP Purchases Fleet of 20 Diamond D-JETs and is Selected by Diamond to Perform D-JET Training". November 2006. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  8. ^ "Chartright orders ten Diamond D-JET aircraft for its charter and managed fleet" (PDF). June 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  9. ^ AvWeb Staff (February 2008). "D-Jet To Be Built In London, Ont.". Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  10. ^ Pew, Glenn (October 2008). "Diamond D-Jet Wins SwiftJet Order". Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  11. ^ SwiftJet (n.d.). "SwiftJet Aircraft". Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  12. ^ Morrison, Murdo. "Diamond Canada left wondering if government will recognise jewel in its aerospace crown." Flight International, 23 May 2011.
  13. ^ a b Flying Magazine: Engine Swap for the D-Jet: Program Delayed, June 2008 page 20. Hachette Filipacchi Media
  14. ^ "FARNBOROUGH: Diamond to develop military jet version of D-Jet". Retrieved 2010-07-25. 
  15. ^ AvWeb Article Diamond D-Jet First Flight By Mary Grady , Newswriter, Editor April 20, 2006
  16. ^ AvWeb Article Diamond D-Jet To Debut At Oshkosh By Mary Grady, Newswriter Editor May 31 2006
  17. ^ Diamond Aircraft (n.d.). "Program Update". Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  18. ^ Aero-News April 16, 2008 Article Diamond's Third D-Jet Takes To The Skies
  19. ^ a b Niles, Russ (May 2011). "D-Jet Financing Alternatives Explored". AvWeb. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  20. ^ a b Niles, Russ (June 2011). "Diamond Secures D-JET Financing". AvWeb. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  21. ^ a b Niles, Russ (September 2011). "Diamond Resumes D-JET Testing". AvWeb. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  22. ^ "Diamond D-JET coming to EAA AirVenture 2012". Diamond Aircraft. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  23. ^ "D-JET Coming To OSH With Something New". Avweb. Retrieved 2012-07-25. 
  24. ^ Pew, Glenn (26 July 2012). "D-JET Progresses Toward "Abused Stalls"". AVweb. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  25. ^ Cite error: The named reference AvWeb19Apr11 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  26. ^ Niles, Russ (April 2011). "Diamond Appeals For Loan Support". AvWeb. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  27. ^ Maurer, Peter (April 2011). "Diamond isn't just about jobs" (PDF). AvWeb. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  28. ^ Pew, Glenn (May 2011). "Diamond Funding Decision Imminent?". AvWeb. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  29. ^ Belanger, Joe (May 2011). "We asked: Can Diamond come up with the $35 million it needs?". London Free Press. Retrieved 19 May 2011. 
  30. ^ "Dornier, Diamond To Produce Seastar". AVweb. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 

External links[edit]