At German GA Show, Diamond Reveals Move To China

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Over the weekend, Germany hosted its 15th Aero Friedrichshafen International General Aviation Trade Fair, a biennial show that is Europe's premier GA event, with 543 exhibitors from 28 countries in nine exhibit halls. AOPA's Thomas A. Horne was there, and reported that Diamond Aircraft CEO Christian Dries revealed that the Austrian company already is building a new manufacturing facility in China. The factory will be big enough to employ 1,700 workers and build 600 aircraft a year. Dries also said Diamond is building a special-edition Twin Star for law-enforcement and sports-coverage operations. The DA42 MPP (multipurpose platform) will have a nose-mounted, gyro-stabilized, triple optical sensor built in Russia. Demand for the MPP is "more than we can produce," said Dries. Also, Dries said the single-engine D-Jet is expected to fly by the end of this year, according to Horne. Diamond also announced recently that the fixed-pitch version of the Diamond Star has received certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency. FAA certification for the DA40-FP is expected in mid-May, the company said. The DA40-FP has lower acquisition and operating costs, simplified operation and lower maintenance times.