By Paul Bertorelli, Editorial Director
Diamond reported Tuesday that its new DA52 twin completed its first flight, with Diamond CEO Christian Dries and test pilot Ingmar Meyerbuch at the controls. The DA52 is essentially the cabin of the DA50 SuperStar, which was proposed a few years ago, paired with new wings and two 180-HP Austro AE300 engines. The engines are manufactured in a new facility adjacent to Diamond's factory in Weiner Neudstadt, Austria. According to Diamond, the aircraft took off at a gross weight of 3,900 pounds and climbed to 12,000 feet in nine minutes, for an average two-engine climb rate of about 1300 FPM. On the initial flight, the aircraft achieved a true airspeed of 190 knots with no abnormalities, Diamond said.
The DA52's large cabin will accommodate up to five people -- or six, if some passengers are small or are children. The cabin is wide, with staggered seating in the rear portion. AVweb saw the aircraft being assembled during our visit to the Diamond factory in March. Dries promised then that the airplane would fly on April 3 and appears to be as good as his word. "This is the best prototype aircraft I have ever made a maiden flight with," he said this week, "and the performance exceeded all my expectations. I'm very proud of my team, headed by managing director Manfred Zipper, who realized this program in less than six months." The DA52 will be shown at the Aero show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, later this month. AVweb will post full coverage of the show.