Diamond Twin Pushes Economy Envelope

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Diamond Aircraft continues to turn heads with a piston twin that appears to put the fuel-economy figures of the most miserly singles and the performance data of the most spirited high-performance piston aircraft to shame. The company released test data on its DA42 Twin Star earlier this week. The all-composite, diesel-powered aircraft ripped along at 201 knots TAS on 80-percent power at 18,000 feet. But perhaps even more startling was that at max economy setting, it held a respectable 110 knots IAS using just three gallons per hour of Jet A or diesel. That's far less than a Cessna 152 would use at the same speed. A Diamond news release says that at minimum power settings, the aircraft has a theoretical range of 2,200 nm and an endurance of 19 hours on standard fuel load. Most people want to get there quicker, however, and at 75-percent power and 10,000 feet you'll be going 181 knots and using 10.7 gph of cheaper fuel. Diamond is hoping for a price of $360,000 and North American deliveries of the Twin Star in mid-2004.