Owning And Flying Diamond's Diesel Twin

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Aviation news tends to be made in the press area, a long way from the tie-down area at the west end of Wittman Regional Airport, but a couple of German pilots may have quietly made history when they touched down in a DA42 TwinStar (serial number 16) on Friday. Aircraft owner Wolfgang Daiser and his friend and co-pilot Michael Frohling flew from their home in Dusseldorf to Oshkosh, via Greenland, Canada, and New York. Flight time was about 38 hours and, while TwinStars have been showcased at the Diamond display for the past couple of years, theirs may be the first owner-flown copy to have made it to the show. Daiser said he and Frohling spent six months getting ready for the trip, including taking ditching survival training from the German Naval Air Force and doing a week-long course designed for mechanics on the TwinStar's systems. They wore stifling survival suits for the entire water portion of the journey and followed the drama of a Beech Baron as its crew ditched the crippled aircraft in the ocean off Greenland.

Daiser and Frohling said they were blessed with near perfect weather for the flight, and the TwinStar performed flawlessly, as it has since Daiser bought it. "When I bought it I thought I would either be on the leading edge or the bleeding edge," Daiser told AVweb. "I think I am on the leading edge." He said there have been no maintenance or repair issues with the aircraft in the 170 hours he's been flying the plane and he has a lot of confidence in the plane. He's also getting performance at least equal to his expectations. On a typical flight, he'll cruise at 10,000 feet with a true airspeed of 150 knots and burn about five gallons per hour on each side. If he's going for endurance, he'll drop back to 140 knots and decrease consumption to 4.3 gph. Daiser, an IT consultant, appears to fit the demographic Diamond had in mind for the TwinStar. A typical flight takes him to an island in northern Germany about a 1.5 hou r flight from home. He and his wife also like stretching the Diamond's legs a little with flights to France, England and Ireland. Daiser has about 600 hours total and IFR capability was essential because German weather limits VFR days. Although the TwinStar is a relatively complex airplane, features like FADEC and automatic propeller control ease the burden. "The plane is very easy to fly," he said, adding that the biggest learning curve was the G1000 glass panel.