Diamond Aircraft Industries is debuting at MEBAA 2018 its new twin-engine DA62 demonstrator, featuring some of the added exterior and interior design options that will be available beginning with the 2019 models. These include an automotive-style fold-down second seat row and a blue exterior design scheme for the all-composite airframe.
A larger, more capable version of Diamond’s four-place DA42, the DA62 is touted as a “flying SUV,” with a spacious cabin that seats up to seven. The two 180-hp twin-turbocharged Fadec Austro Engine AE330 diesel engines propel the DA62 to a high-speed cruise of 192 ktas while burning a total of 17.1 gph of Jet A, while economy cruise (60 percent power) delivers 159 ktas at just 11.8 gph total.
Diamond (Stand 492) also offers a DA62 MPP (Multi Purpose Platform) special mission version of the aircraft and delivered in June the first DA62 MPP to DEA Specialised Airborne Operations, UK provider of airborne sensing services including ISR and aerial survey. At loiter power the platform consumes just 7.4 gph, allowing 10-hour non-stop missions.
The Austrian company is also displaying at Al Maktoum International Airport its DA40 New Generation (NG) single-engine trainer, powered by a 168-hp AE300. In response to the growing commercial pilot shortage, Diamond has also developed an Advanced Airline Trainer (AAT) concept for the DA40 NG, encompassing a set of key enhancements and a variety of options to make training time more efficient.
With the AAT, “From the very beginning of their training program, student pilots are enabled to develop the right psychomotor, cognitive, strategic, and tactical skills, which can easily be transferred into the cockpit of an airliner,” according to the company.
Also new this year is the Dart 550 turboprop aerobatic trainer, which first flew in May. A follow-on to the Dart 450 civilian and military aerobatic trainer, the 550 incorporates an electronic engine and propeller control system, Garmin G3000 avionics suite, Martin Baker MK16 ejection seats, and a 550-shp GE H75-100 engine. With an expected maximum speed of 247 ktas and maximum takeoff weight of 5,291 pounds in this configuration, the new trainer can be outfitted in varying engine power ratings, seat configuration, and avionics options as needed by customers, the company noted.
In another major development, late last year founder Christian Dries sold Diamond to China’s Wanfeng Aviation Industry. The sale was, he said, “In the interest of a successful long-term future. We needed to find the right partner to continue our good work. Wanfeng and specifically [Wanfeng chairman] Bin Chen share my vision of the future of general aviation and are investing for the right reasons, with a long-term strategy and the resources to see their vision through.”
The sale included group companies Diamond Aircraft Canada and Austro Engine, the latter the manufacturer of the diesels that power Diamond’s DA40, DA42, and DA62.
In March Bin Chen laid out the company’s “future group strategy,” putting “a focus on continued growth” through development of new aircraft models and technologies. Some previously announced projects, including the Dart 280 helicopter and a tiltrotor, are “under evaluation,” according to the company.
Located at the Wiener Neustadt East airfield, its home of 25 years, DAI Austria, with some 600 employees, is now global headquarters for the Diamond Group and Austro Engine. The company's research and development center, production facilities, sales and marketing, and customer support and aftermarket efforts are all located at the headquarters. Liqun Zhang is CEO and Dries maintains an advisory role “to help the new ownership and ensure the continued development of Diamond Aircraft Group,” according to the company.