It was only flown up to 12,000 feet and cruised at 190 knots TAS within the pre-defined limits of its one-hour flight test, but Diamond Aircraft's five-plus-person DA52 twin could soon offer "a lot more," according to the company. Powered by two 180-hp turbo-diesel Austro AE300E engines, the aircraft took off without flaps in less than 900 feet with a five-knot headwind. It climbed to altitude in less than nine minutes at an initial rate of 1,700 fpm, flying at gross weight. Performance was constricted for the test flight, and more technology is coming. Christian Dries told AVweb that the DA52 will be among Diamond's first to be offered with optional fly-by-wire controls.
According to Dries, the DA52 "is the best prototype aircraft I have ever made a maiden flight with and the performance exceeded all my expectations." It is capable of more than 16 MPG, burning Jet A thanks to very low cooling and aerodynamic drag. The DA52's cabin is about the size of an Aztec. It came to life in less than six months and may be selling with fly-by-wire controls by 2014.