Another Diamond In The Sky

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Diamond Aircraft celebrated the first flight of its DA50 Super Star on Wednesday from the manufacturer's headquarters in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, but the jaunt was only 15 minutes due to poor weather conditions, according to company CEO and owner Christian Dries. The five-place single-engine airplane took off at an mtow of 3,670 pounds with Dries and director of sales/chief pilot Soeren Pedersen at the controls. While the maiden flight was cut short, the pair logged two more hours in the all-composite airplane on the next day when weather was more cooperative, allowing for a more comprehensive shake out of the initial DA50. Dries told AVweb that on Thursday the Super Star's 350-hp, FADEC-controlled, turbocharged Teledyne Continental TSIOF-550J engine systems were checked out and the fixed-gear airplane was also taken to 10,000 feet. Diamond brought the airplane from the drawing board to the skies in only 11 months, which Dries attributes to lead engineer Manfred Zipper and his team. The first DA50 has officially been handed over to Diamond's flight test department, which will further expand the aircraft's envelope. According to Dries, preliminary data shows that the Super Star will cruise at 180 knots at 8,000 feet with 68-percent power. The airplane will be equipped with TKS anti-icing, a variable-pitch hot prop and a three-screen Garmin G1000 avionics system. Optional 170- to 300-hp diesel engines will also be available for the DA50, Dries said. Diamond expects to start DA50 production in January, but those going to Aero 2007 in Friedrichshafen, Germany, this month will be able to get a first look at the airplane.