Diamond joins the small-jet fray

 - January 10, 2008, 10:15 AM

Diamond Aircraft, which manufactures composite single- and twin- engine piston aircraft, has announced it will build a single-engine jet. The five-place (two in front, three-in-a-row in back), all-composite D-jet is projected to sell for “well under $1 million” and have an mtow of 4,700 pounds. Cruise speed at its 25,000-foot maximum altitude is set at 315 knots, with a cabin altitude of 8,000 feet. The jet single is expected to be able to operate from 2,000-foot runways and reach its max cruising altitude in eight minutes (an average of 3,125 fpm).

Diamond has yet to announce an engine manufacturer, but v-p of sales and marketing John Gauch said fuel burn would be 228 pph and the engine selected would be a “proven powerplant with demonstrated reliability.” A decision on an avionics manufacturer is also pending, though Gauch said it would be an established supplier. First flight is scheduled for the middle of next year, with first customer deliveries early in 2006.

The company has not yet announced projected range figures at mtow, nor has it specified what thrust range it seeks from the engine. Diamond said it will soon announce additional details, including ordering information and plans for an expanded service network. Gauch said the company has financing plans in the works, and added, “The D-jet would fit the application for an air-limo operation, though we’re not announcing any 1,000-airplane orders or stock swaps.” Development work would be split between Diamond’s two locations in London, Ontario, Canada, and Wiener Neustadt, Austria.