A Faster, Decked-Out DA40

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Diamond also used the event to unveil a jazzed-up version of the DA40 that might be a competitor for the likes of Cirrus, Mooney and maybe Columbia (if you don't mind going slower with Diamond). With a Powerflow exhaust and a new composite three-bladed Scimitar prop, Diamond's been able to coax a maximum speed of 160 knots out of the new DA40XL, which is about 30 knots faster than the standard DA40 and might be enough to make future owners of high-performance singles to look at the Diamond with its $329,800 price tag, as opposed to airplanes that are 20 or 30 knots faster but also cost about $150,000 more. And, in these fuel-conscious times, it's worth noting the Diamond will burn about 10 gph at 150 ktas at 6,000 feet. There'll also be no lack of electronics on the Diamond. The DA40XL will come with a new Garmin GFC700 Digital Automatic Flight Control System, which includes a flight director, altitude pre-select, GPS roll steering, overspeed protection and two-axis autopilot all integrated with the G1000. There will also be an Avidyne TAS and a satellite datalink system. Again, Diamond officials said they developed the DA40XL because customers were already ordering the standard DA40 with every option they could hang on the airframe.

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