Diamond DA42

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DA42 Twin Star
OH-DAC Tour de Sky Oulu 20140810 02.JPG
Role Light twin-engined utility and trainer aircraft
National origin Austria
Manufacturer Diamond Aircraft Industries
First flight 9 December 2002
Introduction 2004
Status In production[1]
Produced 2002-present
Number built 600+ (2010)[2]
Unit cost
US$522,750[2]
Variants Aeronautics Defense Dominator

The Diamond DA42 Twin Star is a four seat, twin engine, propeller-driven airplane developed manufactured by Austrian company Diamond Aircraft Industries. It holds the distinction of being Diamond's first twin engine design, as well as the first new European twin-engine aircraft in its category to be developed in over 25 years.[3] During 2004, the DA42 became the first diesel-powered fixed-wing aircraft to perform a non-stop crossing of the North Atlantic.

By 2012, the DA42 had become a key revenue generator for the company, having gained popularity with government and military operators in addition to the civil market that had suffered as a result of the Great Recession. Government customers have typically employed the type in the aerial surveillance role, which contributed towards the development of the Aeronautics Defense Dominator, a medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which had been derived from the DA42.

Development[edit]

Origins[edit]

Since its founding in the 1980s, Austrian manufacturer Diamond Aircraft Industries had concentrated on building up an extensive product line. During the late 1990s, company founder and chief executive office Christian Dries approached the design team with a concept for a twin-engined aircraft, which would become the company's first multi-engined aircraft and serve as the next step above the Diamond DA40.[4] This concept emphasised several key qualities, including the need for the aircraft to be relatively simply to operate and be fuel-efficient, while also providing a luxurious four-seat passenger compartment akin to modern automobiles. The concept was not popular at the time; Aerospace publication Flying Magazine referred to Diamond's choice to develop a twin-engined aircraft for general aviation use as "the emergence of an all-new light-piston twin in this class something of a surprise."[4]

The DA42 Twin Star

During April 2014, the DA42 Twin Star was received certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) under the latter's newly-introduced Part procedures.[5][3] In July 2005, the aircraft was also awarded certification from the Federal Aviation Agency in the United States.[6] It has been certified to fly under both visual flight rules (VFR) and instrument flight rules (IFR), allowing it to be operated under a wide range of conditions. Around its introduction to service, aerospace publication Flight International observed that "The DA42 has no natural competitors in its class and sets a benchmark for European general aviation".[3]

During 2004, the DA42 Twin Star became the first diesel-powered fixed-wing aircraft to perform a non-stop crossing of the North Atlantic, taking 12.5 hours while operating with an average fuel consumption of 21.73 litres (4.78 imp gal; 5.74 US gal) per hour (10.86 litres (2.39 imp gal; 2.87 US gal) per hour per engine).[7] In June 2010, a DA42 powered by Austro AE300 engines became the first aircraft to be publicly flown on algae-derived jet fuel.[8]

Further development[edit]

As a consequence of the insolvency of engine manufacturer Thielert and decisions of the insolvency administrator, including cancelling warranty support and the prorating of time-between-overhaul for the Thielert engines that power the DA42, in July 2008, Diamond announced that production of the DA42 has been suspended. At the time production was suspended the DA42 was reported to hold around 80 per cent of the piston twin market.[1][9][10]

In March 2009, Diamond achieved EASA certification for the Austro Engine AE 300, which enabled the DA42 to resume production; equipped with the Austro engine, these aircraft were designated and marketed as the DA42 NG.[1] In April 2009, the first Austro-powered DA42 NG was delivered to a customer in Sweden. On 9 April 2010, the DA42 NG received FAA certification, clearing the way for sales to resume to North American customers.[1]

By March 2012, the DA42 had become the major income driver at Diamond Aircraft. Company CEO Christian Dries indicated that the market focus of the company had been changed by the Great Recession of 2008—2010 which, as a result, had led the company to transition to derive two-thirds of its revenue from military and government contracts, primarily for manned and unmanned surveillance aircraft, the latter in the form of the Aeronautics Defense Dominator.[11]

Also in March 2012, Diamond aircraft announced they were developing a fly-by-wire version of the DA42, which had the stated aim of reducing the accident rate in light aircraft. The system is expected to eventually include flight envelope protection, turbulence righting, autoland capabilities, and damage-tolerant by-pass capabilities, the latter of which would allow for effective flight while suffering from jammed or otherwise non-functional flight surfaces.[12][13] The autonomous DA42 was flown and landed without ground support in 2015.[14][15]

Design[edit]

Overview[edit]

Instrument panel of a DA42 Twin Star, note the installed Garmin G1000 glass cockpit present
A DA42 on static display; note the prominent winglets

The Diamond DA42 Twin Star is twin-engined low-wing cantilever monoplane, commonly used as a general aviation aircraft for touring and training purposes.[3] It is equipped with a retractable tricycle landing gear arrangement and uses a T-tail. The DA42 incorporates a combination of advanced features within the company's first twin-engine design.[3] The airframe is composed from composite materials, making extensive use of carbon fiber reinforced polymers throughout its structure; this construction provides the aircraft with a suitable passive safety level to conform with the established European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Part 21 rules, as well as relatively efficient aerodynamics and essentially unlimited airframe life.[3] The carbon-fiber main wing spars possesses exceptional crashworthiness.[4]

The DA42 typically accommodates four people, these being a pair of pilots sat in side-by-side seating along with two passengers seated behind each of the pilots.[3] All of the seats have been designed for crashworthiness and are complete with automotive-style three-point seat belts; while the seats themselves are fixed in position, the position of the rudder-pedals is adjustable. The front pair of seats are accessed via a front-hinged canopy while a top-hinged door located on the left side provides access to the rear seats.[3] The interior of the cabin is relatively spacious, an additional third row of seating can be installed so that a maximum of seven people can be accommodated; the seats can also be folded to allow for the carriage of bulky items.[4] The pilots are housed under a sizable canopy which provides generous external visibility, save for the use of a large fixed sunscreen. Additionally, separate baggage compartments, which are accessible via external hatches, are contained within internal space in the aircraft's nose.[3][4]

Both the avionics and principal flight controls of the DA42 have been designed to be user-friendly and to reduce pilot workload.[3] A Garmin G1000 glass cockpit serves as the centrepiece of the aircraft's integrated digital avionics, using a pair of large flat-panel monitors in place of conventional instrumentation and gauges; immediately above these monitors is a horizontal row of standby instruments present as a fail-safe.[16] The monitors display various information on the aircraft, along with navigational data and flight information; both screens can show identical basic information or be configured to flight data on the left monitor and navigation on the right.[3] According to Flight International, the displays are easy to read while features such as the moving map display were considered to be "useful".[3] The DA42 is also outfitted with a sophisticated three-axis Garmin-built GFC 700 autopilot and GWX 70 weather radar.[2][4]

Performance[edit]

The flight performance of the DA42 is largely favourable, having been designed to incorporate not only high levels of performance but the greatest possible degrees of passive safety in operation, alongside excellent fuel economy and assisted by the implementation of various modern technologies.[3] The flight controls themselves are proportionally responsive for performing even small manoeuvers and light motions. Both pilots are equipped with their own fighter-style central sticks, which are attached to an otherwise unobstructed cockpit floor.[3][4] In a similar manner, a single combined power lever is used to regulate both the engine and propeller settings; the power levers are convenient and can be operated in a relatively easy manner. In comparison with other twin-engined aircraft in its category, the centre console of the DA42 is uncluttered, which is a result of the clean design of the controls.[3][4]

Underside of a DA42 passing overhead

The stall characteristics are also relatively benign, being described by Flight International as "probably the most docile of any aircraft I can remember".[3] On the DA42, stall conditions are forewarned by the sounding of a warning horn at 5-7kt above stall, as well as by elevating levels of airframe buffeting and a 5-10° drop of the nose. The aircraft is relatively difficult to stall outside of substantial mishandling or deliberate intention.[3] Both longitudinal and lateral stability can be maintained with a relatively low level of effort, not necessitating continuous trimming while the aircraft is accelerating. Active use of the rudder is necessary for effective turns and counteracting sideslip tendencies.[3]

While the DA42 is a twin-engined aircraft, this is predominantly a measure for safety.[2] It is readily capable of sustained flight using only a single engine, and can still achieve a satisfactory rate of climb of 700 feet per minute under single-engine operations, unlike many of its contemporaries.[2] The DA42 possesses considerable endurance, being capable of performing 13 hour-long flights without carrying additional fuel tanks; this is partially due to its high fuel efficiency of its Austro engines, which consume 13.6 US gallons per hour when operated at 75 per cent power, lower than some of its single-engined rivals.[2][4] The digital FADEC (full authority digital engine controls) serves to lower operational difficulty, constantly performing tasks such as managing rpm and fault-checking.[4]

Powerplants[edit]

The Thielert Centurion 1.7 diesel engine in the nose of a DA42

The original model of the DA42 was powered by a single Thielert Aircraft Engines-built TAE 125-01 Centurion 1.7 engine. However, Thielert ended its production of the 1.7 litre Centurion engines in favour of a new 2.0 litre engine, marketed as the TAE 125-02-99;[17] as a result of the engine production change, Diamond began installing the TAE 125-02-99 engine during early 2007. Although engine displacement had increased, it was deliberately de-rated in order to produce the same power 101 kW (135 hp) and torque 409 N·m (302 lbf·ft) as the earlier 1.7 L. engine.[18]

In late 2007, Diamond announced it would begin building and installing its own aerodiesels, through a subsidiary, Austro Engine GmbH, in collaboration with other partners that included Mercedes Benz. The continued use of Thielert engines on the DA42 was also brought into question following Thielert filing for insolvency in April 2008.[19][20][21][22][23] In March 2009, Diamond achieved EASA certification for the rival Austro Engine AE 300 powerplant.[1]

The DA42NG "New Generation" is powered by Diamond's third generation Austro AE 300 turbo diesel engine. The Lycoming IO-360 engine is also available as an option. The 125 kW (168 hp) AE 300 engine replaces the earlier Thielert Centurion 1.7 and 2.0 engines and is known for its good fuel efficiency, using 12.1 litres (2.7 imp gal; 3.2 US gal) per hour while loitering at maximum endurance or 30 litres (7 imp gal; 8 US gal) per hour at maximum continuous power (92 per cent). It is also available with optional "on top" exhaust mufflers that reduces noise levels to below 59 decibels at a height of 500 feet (150 m).[24][25][26] The Austro engine produces 20 per cent more power than the previous Thielert engines and also results in a higher gross weight and increased performance.[1][27][28] Diamond have claimed the Austro engine to be around 46 per cent more fuel efficient than its gasoline rivals; it also runs on diesel or jet fuel, which is typically cheaper than aviation gas.[2]

Operational history[edit]

A DA42 configured to perform aerial survey missions

Upon its introduction, Diamond had to combat a historic trend of declining light-piston twin sales in the face of increasingly reliable and capable single-engined aviation for general aircraft; the DA42 had only five competing aircraft in its category.[4]

The DA42, particularly its use in the surveillance sector, become Diamond's most important business.[29] A dedicated surveillance model of the aircraft, designated as the DA 42 MPP, was developed; during 2008, Diamond delivered 17 DA 42 MPPs and anticipated a demand for between 50 and 60 such aircraft per year.[29] During the latter part of 2008 and early 2009, a pair of Royal Air Force DA42 MPPs were deployed for eight months to provide combat support to coalition forces operating in Iraq; during the deployment, these aircraft flew a combined 2,000h in the surveillance role, for which it had been outfitted with Cineflex high-definition cameras, Riegl laser scanners and Scotty satellite communications kit.[29]

Variants[edit]

A DA42 at the MAKS Airshow in Moscow, 2007
A DA-42 MPP at the 2010 Farnborough Airshow
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-360 134 kW (180 hp) equipped version using 100LL fuel instead of Jet-A1. This model is intended for the North American flight training market.[30][31]
DA42 NG
Austro Engine AE 300 127 kW (170 hp) equipped version. EASA certified March 2009; FAA certified April 2010; Transport Canada certified 16 April 2012.[1][28][31][32][33]
DA42 MPP
Diamond Airborne Sensing a wholly owned subsidiary of Diamond produces the MPP or "Multi Purpose Platform" variant which is modified to carry aerial sensing, mapping and surveillance payloads.[34] The UK Ministry of Defence specified the DA42 MPP variant for its surveillance systems project, converted by DO Systems. Two ordered in June 2008.[35]
DA42 MPP Centaur OPA
Aurora Flight Sciences developed an Optionally Piloted Aircraft (OPA) as an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platform and can be operated as either unmanned or with pilots on board. One in service with the Swiss military procurement agency Armasuisse.[36]
Dominator II
Aeronautics Defense Systems Ltd developed an 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 408 kg (899 lb) payload and speed of 140–354 km/h (75–190 knots) to a maximum altitude of 9,144 m (30,000 ft).[37][38]
DA42-VI
Improved DA42 introduced in March 2012 with new propeller and aerodynamic clean-ups to the rudder and engine cowling, resulting in greatly increased cruise speed performance.[39]

Operators[edit]

Civil operators[edit]

The DA42 is mainly operated by flight training schools, aerial surveillance and mapping operators.

Military operators[edit]

 Argentina
 Ghana
 Jamaica
 Niger
 Russia
  • Federal Security Service (FSB) – 2 DA-42M-NGs fitted with reconnaissance equipment ordered in May 2016, with delivery due by November 2017.[44]
 Thailand
  Switzerland
  • Swiss military procurement agency Armasuisse – 1 – Delivery in end of 2012[36]
 Turkmenistan
 Ukraine
 United Kingdom

Aircraft on display[edit]

Specifications (DA42 Twin Star)[edit]

Data from Type Certificate Data Sheet, Flying Magazine.[4]

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 (175.3 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 1,251 kg (2,758 lb)
  • Gross weight: 1,700 kg (3,748 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Austro turbocharged diesel engine, 125 kW (168 hp) each

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 356 km/h (221 mph; 192 kn)
  • Range: 1,693 km (1,052 mi; 914 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 5,486 m (17,999 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 6.5 m/s (1,280 ft/min)

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Niles, Russ (March 2009). "Re-engined Diesel Twin Star EASA Certified". Retrieved 19 March 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Jaggi, Rohit. "Flight test: the Diamond DA42 NG." Financial Times, 8 May 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Collins, Peter. "FLIGHT TEST: Diamond Aircraft DA42 - Sparkling performer." Flight International, 13 July 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Pope, Stephen. "We Fly: Diamond DA62." Flying Magazine, 2 December 2015.
  5. ^ "DA42 Twin Star EASA certification". Diamond Aircraft. May 2004. 
  6. ^ "DA42-TDI Twin Star FAA certified". Diamond Aircraft. July 2005. 
  7. ^ Diamond Aircraft (2004). "DA42 Twin Star crosses Atlantic non-stop: first Atlantic crossing of a diesel powered aircraft". Archived from the original on 31 March 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2008. 
  8. ^ Pew, Glenn (June 2010). "EADS: Algae-Fueled DA42 A "World's First" (And Better)". Retrieved 10 June 2010. 
  9. ^ Niles, Russ (July 2008). "Diamond Tries To Soothe DA42 Customers". Retrieved 28 May 2008. 
  10. ^ Niles, Russ (November 2008). "Diamond's Thielert Problems Ease". Retrieved 7 November 2008. 
  11. ^ Bertorelli, Paul (13 March 2012). "Diamond's Commercial/Military Turn". AVweb. Retrieved 15 March 2012. 
  12. ^ Bertorelli, Paul (13 March 2012). "Diamond's Dries: Fly By Wire As "Electronic Parachute"". AVweb. Retrieved 15 March 2012. 
  13. ^ Pew, Glenn (29 November 2012). "DA42 Fly By Wire Progress". AVweb. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  14. ^ Bertorelli, Paul (8 September 2015). "Diamond's Autonomous DA42 Completes Autolanding Tests". AVweb. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  15. ^ Diamond DA42 Autoland on YouTube
  16. ^ Diamond Aircraft (2003). "Garmin's G1000 System offered in the DA42 Twin Star". Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Retrieved 15 April 2008. 
  17. ^ Thielert Aviation Engines (January 2007). "Thielert engine in next development stage". Retrieved 15 April 2008. 
  18. ^ "Products". Diamond Aircraft. Retrieved 24 April 2008. 
  19. ^ Niles, Russ (April 2008). "More Trouble For Thielert". Retrieved 24 April 2008. 
  20. ^ AvWeb Staff (May 2008). "Cessna Suspends Diesel 172 Sales, Diamond Steps Up Support". Retrieved 5 May 2008. 
  21. ^ "Diamond Says Thielert Insolvency Administrator Is Playing Hardball". Retrieved 24 April 2008. 
  22. ^ Bertorelli, Paul (May 2008). "Thielert: How To Kill A Company (Maybe Two)". Retrieved 27 May 2008. 
  23. ^ Bertorelli, Paul (May 2008). "Thielert: No Warranty Support For Diamond Diesels". Retrieved 15 May 2008. 
  24. ^ "Facts". Diamond Airborne Sensing. Retrieved 24 April 2008. 
  25. ^ "News". Diamond Aircraft. Retrieved 24 April 2008. 
  26. ^ "Clarity Aerial Sensing Law Enforcement". Clarity Aerial Sensing. Retrieved 24 April 2008. 
  27. ^ Peppler, Graeme (April 2009). "Diesel DA50 Headed To U.S.". Retrieved 14 April 2009. 
  28. ^ a b Pew, Glenn (April 2010). "Diamond's DA42 NG, FAA/EASA Certified". Retrieved 12 April 2010. 
  29. ^ a b c Morrison, Murdo. "Diamond: DA42s shone during RAF's Iraq mission." Flight International, 15 July 2009.
  30. ^ "Diamond Aircraft unveils new Lycoming-powered DA42 L360 twin at AOPA Expo 2008". Diamond Aircraft. November 2008. Retrieved 27 December 2008. 
  31. ^ a b "Diamond announces DA42 New Horizons: Austro-Engine, Lycoming powered DA42s". Diamond Aircraft. July 2008. Retrieved 27 December 2008. 
  32. ^ "Diamond Aircraft Receives FAA Certification For Austro Engine AE300 Powerplant!". Aero-News Network. 2009. Retrieved 31 July 2009. 
  33. ^ "Diamond DA42 NG receives Transport Canada certification". Diamond Aircraft. 16 April 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  34. ^ "Diamond Airborne Sensing website". Diamond Aircraft. 
  35. ^ a b "Air Forces Monthly (UK edition)". October 2008. p. 70. 
  36. ^ a b "armasuisse webpage: Diamond DA42 Centaur OPA". 
  37. ^ Niles, Russ (August 2009). "DA42-Based UAV Tested". Retrieved 13 August 2009. 
  38. ^ defence.professionals GmbH (July 2009). "Aeronautics Defense Systems successfully tested unmanned Diamond DA42". Retrieved 13 August 2009. 
  39. ^ A. Horne, Thomas (20 April 2012). "Diamond shows off new airplanes and powerplants". AOPA. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  40. ^ "Misiones: la AFIP retuvo tres aviones que el Gobierno le compró al ejército de EE.UU.". La Nacion. 18 January 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2016. 
  41. ^ "Ghana Air Force to spend US$200 million on five aircraft". DefenceWeb. 10 August 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  42. ^ "Diamond DA40 FP". Jamaica Defence Force. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  43. ^ "Diamond Aircraft : Diamond Airborne Sensing Sells DA42 MPP Surveillance Aircraft to Niger". Diamond-air.at. 1 June 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  44. ^ Butowski, Piotr (June 2016). "Russian Diamonds". Air International. Vol. 90 no. 6. p. 4. ISSN 0306-5634. 
  45. ^ "Royal Thai Air Force chooses 6 DA42 for it's (sic) training program." Diamond Aircraft.
  46. ^ "Market Expands for Light ISR Aircraft." Defense News.
  47. ^ "Фотографии с места катастрофы самолета Diamond DA-42 в Закарпатье."
  48. ^ "British Forces operating two modified DA42 with 39 squadron in ISTAR role". The Register, 18 February 2010.
  49. ^ "Displaying Serials in range ZA." ukserials.com.
  50. ^ Kauh, Elaine (28 November 2014). "Diamond's First DA42 On Display In Austrian Museum". AVweb. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 

External links[edit]