The turbine version of the Diamond Aircraft DA50 single made its first flight on January 19 in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. At the controls were Diamond CEO Christian Dries and head of flight-testing Ingmar Mayerbuch. Dubbed the DA50-JP7, the seven-seat airplane is powered by a dual-Fadec 465-shp Motor Sich AI450S turboprop. Another Ukrainian company, Ivchenko Progress, contributed to the design, and Austro Engine—a Diamond group company—will be involved in certification. The AI450S burns 20 percent less fuel than other suitable engines and is particularly fuel-efficient at medium altitudes, according to Diamond.
The DA50-JP7 will be developed in two versions. A Tundra variant, with a rugged landing gear, is targeting unpaved runways and will have a projected takeoff distance of only 650 feet. The second version is intended for training and private customers, possibly with a cruise speed of up to 230 knots. The DA50-JP7 can cope with temperatures ranging from -50 degrees C to 50 degrees C, according to Diamond.
Two prototypes will participate in the development program. Certification is slated for the second half of next year and Dries said his team is pursuing EASA, FAA, Russian and other approvals worldwide. Production will take place at the Wiener Neustadt factory.
The concept was introduced at the Aero 2013 show in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Asked about the length of time it took to fly the first prototype, Dries said that Motor Sich conducted “intensive testing and development before Diamond was allowed to install the engine in an aircraft.”