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First DA42-VI Makes the Crossing Part III

GlassPilotNews, Pilot Reports

Flight 3: Reykjavik, Iceland (BIRK) to Narsarsuaq, Greenland (BGBW)

The first flight of Day 2: 679 nm and 3 hours 56 minutes from Iceland to Greenland was definitely the most spectacular, thrilling, and just plain amazing. It’s what made the whole trip so memorable.

We had “severe clear” good visibility weather for our flight out of Reykjavik, with departure after takeoff passing right over the city:

After we turned southwest towards our destination in Greenland, we flew at 14,000 feet above a broken cloud layer with little to see. But it was fun to look at the G1000 MFD display (be sure to click on the photo for an expanded view): Read the rest of this entry »


First DA42-VI Makes the Crossing Part II

GlassPilotNews, Pilot Reports

This post is the continuation of the North Atlantic Crossing of the First Diamond DA42-VI sold for delivery to the US. The aircraft was sold by Dominion Aircraft Sales and the new owner made the flight with the ferry pilot and provided these reports.

Flight 2: Wick, Scotland (EGPC) to Reykjavik, Iceland (BIRK)

The second flight of the trip was shorter than the first, 3 hours 44 minutes while covering 652 nm of mostly open water. After about a one-hour stop at Wick to refuel and file another flight plan, we prepared to launch towards Iceland.

While at Wick the FBO handling agent at Far North Aviation offered to rent us immersion suits, personal rafts, and personal locator beacons, at a cost of something like 50 GBP for a suit, and more for a raft and beacon — one-way rental to Goose Bay, Ontario, Canada. But before any money could change hands, he asked if we had any room onboard the aircraft to carry additional suits, rafts, and beacons to Goose Bay. Apparently there had been an imbalance of too many aircraft being ferried eastbound to Europe and not enough going westbound in our direction, so Goose Bay had run out of gear, and Wick had accumulated too much.

Since there were just 2 of us onboard the DA42 and the nose baggage compartment was completely empty, we loaded the plane with a set of 6 rafts, 2 suits, and 6 beacons. The total weight about equalled carrying a 3rd adult passenger, spread between the nose compartment and the back seat. With all of our fuel tanks (including the auxiliary tanks behind the engines) topped off, were were probably overweight, but not by too much. The irony of carrying this gear was that Fritz and I decided not to wear the very uncomfortable immersion suits, so all the survival gear probably wouldn’t have done us much good if we had to ditch in the icy-cold water.

During the stop at Wick I had neglected to completely shut down my GoPro camera and killed the battery, so here’s the takeoff video captured with my iPhone:

Check out all the black cows (or are they sheep?) in the fields below.

We flew at 15,000 feet mostly above the overcast cloud layer, but would occasionally be in the cloud tops. As a result of flying through the tops, even at the cold temperatures below -20degC, we started picking up ice Read the rest of this entry »


First DA42-VI Makes the Crossing Part I

GlassPilotNews, Pilot Reports

In December 2012 my pilot wife and I put down a deposit on a brand new DA42 “dash six” with our Diamond Distributor Dominion Aircraft Sales. At the current time Diamond currently produces DA42s only in its Wiener Neustadt, Austria factory about 30 miles south of Vienna.

For awhile Diamond was also producing DA42s in the London, Ontario, Canada factory back when they had a huge order backlog for hundreds of DA42s. Back then major components (painted fuselages, wings, etc.) were being sent in “kit” form from Austria, with final assembly being performed in Canada for North American customers.

With the switch from Thielert to Austro engines — Diamond stopped producing new DA42s in Canada except for a small number of avgas Lycoming-powered DA42-L360 aircraft. So to get a new DA42-VI, the aircraft is produced in Austria and ferried to North America.

We opted for the European Delivery Experience offered by our distributor as we thought it would be a chance of a lifetime. Our Diamond distributor John Armstrong and his wife Mary Margaret hosted us for a week in Vienna and coordinated our factory visits, tours, intro flights and excursions. It was an amazing week and an experience we will never forget. To make things even more interesting I requested to accompany the plane for the ferry flight over the Northern Route of the Atlantic and John was also able to coordinate this special request as well.

We arrived on a Monday and enjoyed an afternoon of sightseeing in Vienna. Day two was our first day at the factory and they wasted no time in wowing us. After the cerimonial handing over the the keys by Christian Dries himself we loaded up in our new plane with another DA42 in tow and headed to Salzburg.
Read the rest of this entry »


High Speed Diamond DA42-VI Comes to US


High tech performance with twin diesel propulsion makes the new Diamond DA42-VI high-speed version stand out as the capable modern mobility solution

Diamond Regional Distributor, Dominion Aircraft Sales, announced they traveled in May to the Diamond Aircraft headquarters in Austria accompanying proud new owners, Dave and Sue Passmore, to take delivery of the first US-bound DA42-VI twin turbo diesel aircraft. The most technologically advanced twin aircraft today, the new enhanced DA42-VI high speed version represents the latest in carbon composite airframe design, advanced avionics capabilities, FADEC diesel engine technology and unprecedented performance.

This latest enhanced version, referred to as –VI (“dash 6”), is the culmination of over 10 years of refinement of the Diamond twin diesel design and includes the latest Diamond built Austro Engines. Diamond incorporated an additional 21 aerodynamic changes, weight reductions, performance enhancements and refinements that have resulted in the ultimate DA42 aircraft.

“This high performance aircraft is designed for pilots who want to go anywhere in the world in style without compromising speed, fuel economy, weather capabilities, or safety” states John Armstrong, Dominion Aircraft Sales President, who accompanied the new owners for this special delivery.

Speaking about Diamond Aircraft’s long-standing commitment to innovation, safety and performance, Armstrong remarked, “Diamond continues to exceed the industry by coupling sleek state of the art, ultra strong carbon fiber designs with high-performance super fuel-efficient FADEC controlled diesel engines. Our customers are seeking alternatives to the uncertainty associated with AV-gas, which compels them to look at Diamonds. After doing their research, they are amazed by the unmatched capability, performance and economy that Diamond engineering provides. Diamond has been delivering this amazing aircraft to many parts of the world and we are excited to now bring it to our US-based customers.”

This latest DA42 version can cruise at 190+ knots burning roughly half what traditional twins use. Pilots can also choose to burn an incredibly low 10 gallons per hour in 155 knot super long range cruise mode, all using Jet Fuel rather than 100LL AV-Gas. The combination of the ultra safe design of the airframe, the redundancy of the twin engines, the advantage of the full Flight Into Known Ice certification (FIKI), the flexibility of not having to worry about future AV-Gas price or availability, and the comfort of air conditioning make this aircraft a serious modern world-wide personal transportation solution.

Left to Right: John & Mary Margaret Armstrong Diamond Distributors, Johan Wahlander of Diamond, Sue and Dave Passmore proud new owners, Christian Dries Chairman of Diamond.

Both Dave and Sue Passmore are pilots and have enjoyed their Diamond DA40 XLS based at Leesburg VA. After thoroughly enjoying the DA40, they decided they were ready for a next level higher-performance aircraft. Dave Passmore, an MIT graduate and technology research analyst, studied multiple options once he made the decision to purchase a new aircraft. “The high tech nature and performance of the DA42-VI is like no other machine in its class among piston 4-place singles or twins” stated Mr. Passmore. “It comes with features such as FIKI certification, amazing turbo diesel economy, worldwide fuel availability, the most desired avionics, and the comfort of factory air conditioning. After reviewing all the single engine and twin engine options available and doing extensive comparison, there was no question that this aircraft best meets our needs.” Read the rest of this entry »


Cirrus Chute Deployment Fails Over Texas, Pilot Still Makes Safe Landing


As reported by ANN

A 2001 SR22, With A REPACKED CAPS Chute, Experiences Rocket Firing But NO Chute Deploy

You know you’re having a bad day when a flight goes so bad that you feel you must resort to using a parachute to see you safely through the flight… but the day is TRULY bad when that chute fails and leaves you to battle the emergency that you thought you had escaped from.

Earlier Thursday, Cirrus Pilot Tim Valentine, flying near Addison Texas aboard N715CD, experienced some mode of instrument failure while IFR in a 12 year old Cirrus SR22, serial number 16. According to Valentine, who spoke to ANN extensively Thursday within hours of the incident, he was IFR from Addison TX to Kansas at 7000 feet when he noticed the first signs of some instrumentation issues while avoiding the back side of a major thunderstorm cell. Later, Valentine experienced more serious issues when the HSI went down, the autopilot followed and he began to suspect problems with his Attitude Indicator. The trend was not encouraging.

Realizing that he was in the soup, and that the situation seemed to be escalating — and while flying an SR22 with an airframe parachute attached, Valentine elected to deploy the CAPS… a system that had been repacked the year before in accordance with the lifetime limits established by Cirrus when the system was developed based on technology pioneered by BRS over a decade before, starting with installations built for the Cessna 150 and 152 (for which ANN’s Jim Campbell was one of the test pilots through a number of deployments).

Valentine described the non-deployment simply as, “I pulled the chute… heard the pop, smelled a burning smell, kept smelling the burning smell… and waited for the jerk of the chute deployment… which never came.” Read the rest of this entry »


AOPA News: DiamondShare offers new take on sharing an airplane at Sun ‘n Fun

GlassPilotGeneral, News

Three Diamond Aircraft dealers have devised a program that may put a brand-new, four-seat aircraft within reach of many pilots who, for now, can only dream of owning a 2013 DA40 XLT (or XLS).

DiamondShare has been quietly working for about five years to refine Diamond dealer John Armstrong’s ownership-membership concept into a turn-key package that eases the burden of buying a $420,000 machine, by sharing ownership costs but not the equity.

“The difference between members and equity is night and day,” Armstrong said
Read more….


New Diamond Flight Center Development Council Kicks off East Coast Expansion

GlassPilotGeneral, News, Training

Following the inaugural meeting of the Diamond Flight Center Development Council, John Armstrong, President of Dominion Aircraft Sales, announced the expansion of the Diamond Flight Center (DFC) network in the eastern part of the United States.  Dominion is the Diamond Regional Distribution Center serving that area.

Flight training schools from Kentucky, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia came together to form a special new peer group council focused on flight center development and success. They discussed best practices for flight training, launched new programs including DiamondShare and Lease & Learn, explored modern training tools, exchanged information about business operations and recognized outstanding achievements in flight center development.

“As part of our strategic plan for Diamond to continue to lead the way in modern flight training we are executing our aggressive program of expansion of the Diamond Flight Center network. Our select flight training partners are organizations who are committed to providing their customers with a high-quality learning experience in the safest, easiest to fly aircraft in the market,” says Armstrong. “Providing flight training in Diamond aircraft represents a significant profit potential for the flight centers because Diamonds have the best fuel economy and total cost of ownership among training aircraft today. Also, since the Diamond line includes a full range of aircraft from the DA20 primary trainer to the high-tech turbo diesel DA42 twin, it’s easy for customers to transition to more complex aircraft, and enjoy a seamless training experience to whatever level they aspire.”

Brant Howell of SML Aviation in Roanoke, Virginia and Danny Kane of Kane Aviation in Salem, Virginia were awarded the Top 2012 Achievement Award. In less than one year working as a team they converted from several old airplanes to a full Diamond fleet, including two DA20s (one is G500), a DA40 G1000 and the recent addition of a DA42. “Coupled with their advanced motion flight simulators and top-notch CFIs, these Diamond Flight Centers are providing the very best results and learning experience in flight training today,” says Armstrong. Read the rest of this entry »


ANN Selects Diamond’s DA40 XLS ‘Best Of The Breed’ 2012: GA ‘Plane Of The Year’

GlassPilotGeneral, News

As Seen on ANN – The Aircraft News Network

After Surviving A Tough Year, We Think There Are Still A Few Things To Celebrate
Final Compilations by ANN Editor-In-Chief/Roving Aeronaut, Jim Campbell

Each year, we put our heads together, look over reader input as well as our own reports and other sources of info and try to recognize the VERY BEST aircraft in a number of pivotal categories.

This particular series will cover the aircraft we consider to be the VERY BEST of the whole breed. In the past, we have broken these awards into a number of categories but the plain fact of the matter is while there is much to be thankful for as far as 2012 is concerned (the survival of the industry, most of all), there are few categories in which there were products that distinguished themselves sufficiently to permit such an award. So… we’re only going to offer awards to planes in categories in which there is a clear and pervasive winner.

But first, let’s start at the top with our Plane Of The Year (The Best Of Them All — Regardless of Category). As this year came to a close, we made some tough decisions as to what constitutes a “Best of Breed” and how wide we wanted to cast the net. As noted in past years, it struck us that naming an overall “best” aircraft across the entire spectrum of general (or sport) aviation is probably no longer reasonable. Which isn’t to say that we won’t make a selection… but that we reserve the right not to do so if no specific aircraft steps up to deserve the title. There are simply too many aircraft that have distinguished themselves in too many outstanding ways for one to readily be called better than the other on an overall basis and too much junk cluttering the aero-universe (confusing the issue), to boot.. and worse than that, there are some exceptional aircraft out there that are now built by companies that (in our opinion) have proven that they can no longer be trusted — and as good as their products have been in the past, the current state of the company leaves us no choice to but to discard ANY consideration of their products. In the case of Cirrus Aircraft, for instance, whose problems have been extensively documented, we simply do not trust the company as far as we could throw any of their product line… and while their current products were principally developed some time ago by far more talented people (in our opinion) than are running the Chinese-owned ship at the moment, we simply believe that an aircraft that is built by a company we do not trust, can not itself, be trusted — at least not with our family and/or friends on board.

Which brings us to the object of this year’s award… a solidly built little four seater built by a trustworthy company that has weathered a fair amount of tough times without selling its soul.

We speak, specifically, of the Diamond Aircraft DA40 XLS — an outstanding GA airplane with one of the most impressive safety records in recent times. With a modern glass cockpit and digital autopilot now available, the 150 knot DA40 XLS has a 720 nm range at 75% power, burning all of 10GPH — and can easily handle 20 kt crosswinds (and more… as I have personally confirmed for myself). Delightful handling, excellent low-speed manners, phenomenal crash-worthiness (despite comparatively few crashes to test such an attribute), incredible visibility, and lovely styling make the DA40 XLS a winner… even in an awful economy when justifying one’s flying dollars has become harder than ever. Read the rest of this entry »


Marking Aviation History


At this moment we honor the passing of Neil Armstrong who died August 25th, 2012. As the first man to ever step foot on the moon he became a symbol of what could be accomplished in space and inspired many people to “reach for the stars.

Along with the passing of Neil Armstrong we mark the passing of another aviation legend, the Space Shuttle Program. The shuttle is being moved from Houston this week to its final resting place via the 747 shuttle transport aircraft. This picture is compliments of my friend Richard Simile who was invited to fly a Diamond DA40 down to see the craft before it left.



Plane & Pilot Magazine Article: Diamond’s Family Star


Plane and Pilot Magazine

Diamond’s Family Star

Diamond’s innovative, four-place Star offers performance and efficiency beyond its price

By Bill Cox, Photos By Jessica Ambats

Diamond DA40“The Diamond Star XLS is a perfect example of what can be accomplished with a well-designed, fixed-gear, four-seat single. Since its introduction a dozen years ago as the first design of the new millennium, the Star has been a consistent winner for Diamond Aircraft of Wiener-Neustadt, Austria, and London, Ontario, Canada. So far, Diamond has delivered just over 1,200 Stars.”


Read Full Article


Go “10 Carat” Diamond Go!

GlassPilotFor Fun, News

Here at GlassPilot.com we are cheering for Cynthia Lee and her copilot, Nancy Rohr, in the Air Race Classic in her new Diamond DA40 XLS she acquired in December 2011. She affectionately dubbed her Diamond “10 Carat” in reference to the planes beauty and value! Good Luck Gals! Show em what the Diamond will do!

Cynthia, Nancy and 10Carat were featured in an AOPA Online article and called the “new comers” to the race. Cynthia is based in Wilmington Delaware and lives just over the line in PA. She and Nancy had an eventful but beautiful flight out west to be in position for the race.

They are all set to begin the race of a lifetime!

Cynthia learned to fly later in life and bought a basic Piper plane to learn to fly and get started. She soon after that selected the Diamond DA40 XLS as her dream plane and began scheming on how to make the move over. This happened when she was able to get a ride in the DA40 XLS as she was finishing up her Private…one flight and she was hooked!  John Armstrong of Dominion Aircraft Sales assisted Ms. Lee and was able to offer a trade for her Piper Archer to help her get into the fully decked out new DA40 XLS. “Working with Cynthia was great”, John said, “She is pursuing her dreams with such a fun and positive attitude it’s impossible not to be inspired by her. I’ve had the pleasure of flying on some trips with Cynthia and I can simply say she is a great pilot, a very special person and a delight to be with.”

Cynthia took advantage of a new program to purchase her Diamond called the DiamondShare – Share & Save Program that arranges block lease clients to reduce the cost of ownership to a desired budget target allowing the buyer to obtain the new plane of their dreams. Its an innovative new program that has significant benefits for buyers as well as their block lease clients.

Here is a great photo of 10Carat on the ramp at Sedona on the way to Lake Havasu where the race begins.

We will look forward to bringing you more updates about the progress of these great gals as they race across the country in their sparkling new Diamond.


Go 10Carat Go!


Will the Top Seller Please Stand Up?

GlassPilotGeneral, News

In the business of selling aircraft, manufacturers often massage statistics of safety and performance to put there aircraft in the best light and this is to be expected. Hard cold stats of units sold is hard to massage and twist into a different representation so we thought we’d do a simple analysis of comparable aircraft of particular interest to us in the category of what are considered widely as “First Aircraft”. In other words the planes that folks coming into aviation would consider as suitable as their first aircraft that fit into a narrow band of performance (more than 140kts of speed, 4 seats and not considered High Performance or Retractible).

In the area of single engine 4 place aircraft that are sold in volume new as personal aircraft most would agree there are essentially three main aircraft. The Cessna 182T, the Cirrus SR20 and the Diamond DA40. We exclude the C172 because though it is a tried and true training aircraft, its speed limits it as a highly usable traveling aircraft on the same level as the three named above.

The chart above shows sales data for these three comparable models from 2004 through 2011.

Review of the numbers indicates something that many folks might not have guessed and that is the Diamond DA40 has been the top seller in the category 6 out of 8 years. The Cirrus SR20 for all its marketing hype, parachute and sales feet on the street has never topped the chart or out sold the DA40 and has been in third place in 5 of 8 years. Read the rest of this entry »


Details of DA42 enhancements


We are all very excited about the enhancements done to the DA42 line. The plane is now dubbed the DA42 VI as the plane is the 6th design iteration in the line of Diamond twins.

This presentation provides a detailed explanation of what they did to dramatically improve the performance of the aircraft. Stay tuned for availability announcements.


A New High Performance DA42 Version



Maiden flight of NEW Diamond DA52


Diamond released this video of their latest new design, a big cabin 5-7 place diesel twin dubbed the DA52. We will all be waiting with interest to see the path to market for his remarkable modern aircraft.