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Diamond: A New Twin Versus a Single

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Early into our conversation this week with Diamond CEO Christian Dries, he asked if we thought a well-equipped, fast twin could compete against an equally fast but less efficient single. He has in mind, of course, what Diamond has always had in mind: taking on the Cirrus head-on with the diesel-equipped DA42 twin.

My answer? Hell if I know. I form my opinions based on what I see in the industry and what so-called experts tell me. But experts are often wrong and I've been wrong more times than I can even count. In 2004, I thought a plastic twin with new, unproven diesels was a bit nutty, but Dries pulled that rabbit out of the hat. I didn't think the Piper Matrix would sell—neither did Dries—but it has.

What Diamond is up to here is version 3.0 of the DA42, the first being the Thielert version, the second the initial Austro-powered model and now a second-generation Austro version Diamond is calling the V1. (Not sure about that name…) This will be unveiled fully formed at Aero in Friedrichshafen in April, but we got a good look at it and a demo flight here in Wiener Neustadt this week. I can't go into the details by agreement with Diamond, but suffice to say the performance is considerably enhanced with a range of improvements, some major, some minor. Says Diamond's Michael Feinig, whom I've known for years, "It's not one thing, but one knot." Diamond has taken a sort of LoPrestian approach to sorting the airplane out and taking advantage of what the diesels can do. (They need the help, too, because the Austros are heavier than the Thielerts and in a twin governed by the need for single-engine climb, that can be a killer.)

We flew on a nasty Austrian day with low ceilings, rain and a gusty crosswind. By happenstance, these conditions made the point that Dries is pushing: A pilot needn't be fearful of flying a twin if it's designed right. I was too busy taking notes and filming to fly it myself and we were pressed for time. But our demo pilot, Ingmar Mayerbuch, either has the best hands I've ever seen or the airplane really is much easier to fly than previous twins. Bouncing around in turbulence above a cloud deck, he shutdown the right engine a couple of times, did the restart and showed us impressive single-engine climb with three people aboard. (It's over 400 FPM at altitude.) We bolted up to 16,000 feet and had a look at the cruise speeds, which looked to be in the mid-180s on about 10 to 12 gallons total, giving the airplane huge range. Returning to base, he showed a couple of crosswind landings that appeared effortless, despite the gusts. That was skill, not the airplane, necessarily.

Dries wanted to know how you sell such a thing against an able, impressive airplane like the Cirrus. The new twin will sell for about $80,000 more than the Cirrus, but will deliver like speeds on less fuel flow. Does this sort of thing matter to the buyer who can afford an airplane north of $700,000? It might to some. How about the second engine? Dries would like to sell the idea that a second engine is better than a parachute if things go sour. It may be true. But neither the second engine nor the parachute are passive. Both require judgment and positive pilot action to use, something that hasn't been exactly a high note in the Cirrus owner community.

If I were selling the DA42, I'd make the sales promo focus on the airplane's simplicity of operation and try to eliminate the stigma that twins are one engine choke away from a smoking crater. This prejudice against twins has been justified mostly in circumstances where pilots simply aren't proficient in engine-out ops or where the airplane was just marginal to begin with. (The word Apache comes to mind.) Does the new DA42 eliminate that problem? I'm not so sure, although it certainly appears to knock the sharp edges off. Its performance is impressive.

Diamond is looking eastward to Russia, China and India for much of its growth, but the V1 is intended as a personal airplane for the main market that still supports expensive, owner-flown high-value personal transportation and that's still North America. So heading into the rest of the 2012, expect to hear about Diamond's revised twin. It will be at Aero in April along with some other new things from Diamond.

It's going to be an interesting ride.

Comments (47)

An interesting ride indeed...

I believe a fundamental part of the answer to your Parachute vs. 2nd engine dilemma boils down to questions which you recently addressed regarding the actual pilot performance of the parachute rescue. In much the same way as manufacturers (and pilots!) had a bitter pill to swallow when the grim statistics of engine failure management in a twin had a few years to ripen, so too has some of the lustre been lost from the BRS promise.

However, if the owner/pilot maintains a level of honesty about the abject obligation to keep current and fresh no matter what the conveyance, twin, single or parachute, the second engine will always have an appeal for some of us.

What contributes even more to your description of an "interesting ride" is Dries' suggestion of Auto-land capability in any GA aircraft. Really, why not? When agricultural equipment can offer GPS-directed harvesting machines with accuracy in the sub-meter range, and hobbyists can build such capability into toys, hasn't the time come for this step?

Technologically, of course it has, but it will be a very hard sell from the point of regulation. Just read the technical requirements for a CAT IIIc approach! The developments necessary from the FAA will be at least as challenging as the tweaky little avionic ones.

Posted by: Anthony Nasr | March 14, 2012 7:26 PM    Report this comment

Can he add "auto-anti-CFIT" ? If so, would that mean all those aircraft would automatically be exempt from any ADIZ restrictions ? What price the automated anti-collision option ? Imagine how safe the skies could be tomorrow if it weren't for all the regulatory interference. On the twin vs single deabte : what about life-cycle maintenance costs and availability of mechanics/parts ? Additional maintenance costs, having to fly to the nearest capable mechanic or an AOG can quickly offset a fuel flow advantage.

Posted by: Peter De Ceulaer | March 15, 2012 12:19 AM    Report this comment

The notion of a light twin for personal use compares favorably to the Cirrus approach for selling single engine airplanes. The big difference will be the marketing technique used.

Cirrus has been criticized by many seasoned pilots because of its approach suggesting its planes have so many safety features (like the parachute) that anybody who can afford to buy one can fly it. History has shown it has an unusually high accident rate.

Twins have a reputation of requiring exceptionally professional pilots to fly safely. Given such a pilot the twin offers a level of safety unmatched by any single engine business class airplane. The issue I think matters most is whether Diamond sells this plane as a great way for pilots with a high degree of professionalism to make business flights or if the go the way of Cirrus suggesting anybody can fly it. I think the professional pilot version of marketing might improve either company's results.

I think the fuel economy is a secondary issue today. However, I think fuel prices will continue to rise for a long time. I doubt they will ever fall a significant amount in my lifetime. That means the fuel economy point may help sales more than it seems.

Posted by: Paul Mulwitz | March 15, 2012 5:51 AM    Report this comment

$80,000 at this price point is not a show stopper for prospects considering a Cirrus.

I had the opportunity to fly the Thielert C172 and was impressed with the smooth operation. Yes, there were other Big Problems but the engine was "turbine smooth." If the Austro diesel is smooth that should be used as a marketing plus.

A twin owner pilot needs single engine training to utilize the safety of twin engine redundancy. Diamond needs to team up with FlightSafety or Simuflite to achieve this objective in a simulator. You can practice emergency procedures safely in a sim versus the aircraft. If you crash in a sim, no one gets hurt and you get to try again until you reach proficiency. Then, the owner needs to attend regular periodic training. Oh, BTW the single engine pilot needs to consider the same training.

Cirrus has a parachute because of its spin recovery difficulties. The chute is a way to make lemon aid out of lemons. You gotta have a chute otherwise no certification with the current design.

Given the advantages of two engines with redundant systems for alternators plus other accessories, and significantly reduced fuel consumption with a non leaded fuel, I would vote for the Diamond over the Cirrus.

Now, if the Diamond were only within my budget, but that is another story.

Thanks Paul

Posted by: Charles Lloyd | March 15, 2012 7:37 AM    Report this comment

I'm not a great fan of twins for a variety of reasons but they do have their place as does singles. There was a single called the Socata Rallye Minerva that was known as the tin parachute, so looking at that, one questions why if that was possible many years ago that more GA aircraft do not employ the same system. I read a book by David B Thurston called Design for Safety the front cover has a Rallye clearly showing the slats. Having flown such an aircraft and watched those slats deploy when flying slow (below Vs in Piper and Cessna) into a small farm field to land and still have full control when other GA aircraft would be falling out of the sky, made me realise what we as pilots are missing. David Thurston made a point that if the aircraft does not stall it will not spin and if it will not spin there is little likely hood that there would be a spin in accident.

It's not the electronics that are a problem in the auto landing issue it's the boilermaker approach that designers HAVE to make to satisfy the authorities. As someone reminded me in another blog there is always a single catastrophic failing point in any system used. i.e. the cable or levers that move the aerofoils, the bearings that the components move in and of course the engine. Modern electronics are more sophisticated and reliable than a few years ago so to have small aircraft’s with equipment that can auto land is very possible.

Posted by: Bruce Savage | March 15, 2012 7:40 AM    Report this comment

First, about parachute vs 2nd engine. Most parachute are required because the airplanes are not spin recoverable. Adding a second engine does no change that. Second, just look at the number of ga pilots who are single vs twin engine certificated will tell you the story. To be able to compete you will have to trained a lot of new multinengine pilot. So I guess that answer Peter's question above.

Posted by: Michael Wu | March 15, 2012 7:44 AM    Report this comment

Learning how to fly a twin is not as complicated and mysterious is not nearly as hard as some make it out to be and the problem as pointed out above is remaining competent to fly the bird on one engine. Most never practice this so if it happens they are not equipped to handle the situation. Just remember if you merely shut down the second engine if the first fails then you have the same situation you have in the single with a engine failure. If you get the urge to think about one of these pricey fancy gizmos, go find someone who owns a twin Comanche and let them take you for a ride. You will find most of them enthusiastic about their planes and you can get a good feel for what the DA42 will offer. Who knows you might even come to your senses and end up with a fully decked out PA30 for several hundred thousand less.

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | March 15, 2012 7:59 AM    Report this comment

I think there's a bit of misconception here about the Cirrus. From day one, Alan Klapmeier said the BRS was intended as a safety feature, not a spin recovery crutch, although it has become that.

When I visited the Cirrus flight test unit a decade ago, I distinctly remember being told it recovers from a spin conventionally. I believe EASA's testing confirmed this.

Using the BRS as a spin recovery equivalent level of safety saved Cirrus some test effort and resources, thus it made sense.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | March 15, 2012 8:10 AM    Report this comment

Uh, second engine, double the maintenance? Mechanics will love you for it. Your pocketbook might not in the long run . . . .

Posted by: David Rosing | March 15, 2012 8:34 AM    Report this comment

Learning to fly a twin and adding multi-engine to my certificate is on my list of things to do, but it's lower compared to others because of one thing: cost. At often twice the cost of single-engine rentals/trainers, the ROI I get from learning to fly multi-engine is a lot lower than, say, learning to fly gliders or even seaplanes. I imagine others feel the same way as I do about this.

But, if the DA42 can reduce the entry cost for the multi-engine rating, then maybe more people will get the multi. Even if you don't plan on flying twins, it is still one more new skill to learn, and that alone should help make us more proficient pilots.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | March 15, 2012 8:55 AM    Report this comment

Cirrus sells airplanes to people who need to go places. Transportation is the primary motivation, not simply owning an airplane. Ease of use is the Cirrus hallmark. Add a second engine, a canopy style door, a higher wing to climb over, and you turn those buyers off. This is a very different niche from Diamond's.

Posted by: Glenn Juber | March 15, 2012 9:05 AM    Report this comment

David R, while it's easy to say two engines equals double the maintenance cost, I think the total cost of ownership may be closer to an SR22 for several reasons. First off, the fuel burn is 30% lower on the Diamond and jet fuel tends to be less expensive than LL. (not sure if road diesel is allowed, that's even cheaper) Pull the power back to a Bonanza-like 170kt and you're probably closer to 10gph. Second, the engines are water-cooled so there are no cylinders to overhaul/replace and a simpler ignition means no magnetos to maintain. The big question for me is the new diesel's TBO, and where do you take the plane for maintenance.

Posted by: Will Alibrandi | March 15, 2012 9:22 AM    Report this comment

That's a really interesting point about TBO and other maintenance. I wonder if anyone (Paul?) knows what they are thinking about this. This could be a real plus for the diesels or a real minus.

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | March 15, 2012 10:37 AM    Report this comment

Multiple engines always means a greater chance of having an engine failure. It also means 100% chance of higher maintenance. So the longer you own a twin, the more chances of failures and the more it will cost you. That's a given.

I think if you can drop $700,000 for a 4 seater then you're not seriously cost-conscious at that point...

Posted by: Mark Fraser | March 15, 2012 12:28 PM    Report this comment

Mark,

Two engines will have more failures than one engine of the same type. However, it is not clear that two diesels will have twice as many failures as one gasoline engine. You need to consider the reliability of the diesel vs. gasoline engines.

Businesses are always cost conscious. For a business plane the notion that fuel costs will be significantly higher for one than another will count a lot. Businesses are always more concerned with recurring costs than one time costs.

Posted by: Paul Mulwitz | March 15, 2012 12:40 PM    Report this comment

I'll give you some numbers here that tend to support why diesels continue to pass the smell test. I interviewed a number of Thielert owners who, despite the troubles with the company, were coming out slightly ahead on operating costs when everything is added up. This is because over the life of the engine, a 30 percent fuels savings is a big number.

Just looking at my video notes on the V1, I saw about 180 knots on 10 GPH or thereabouts. In a TN Cirrus, you'd being doing a little over 200 at 17.5 GPH. The difference is 18 MPG versus 11 MPG.

Over the life of the engine at 2000 TBO, the fuel burn Delta (at $5.50 and not allowing for Jet-A being cheaper) is about $77,000 less in fuel. More than half of that would go to overhauling the second engine.

Another important factor is 3000-hour TBOs, which the Austro may deliver. If it does, the engine hourly for the Continental is $16.50 and about the same for the Austro, times two. In the Austro's favor, it may be approved for road diesel, at least in Europe, which will lower costs a little.

Adding up these costs puts the diesels "in range," if not a slam dunk yet. It's easy to see how they could get there.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | March 15, 2012 12:52 PM    Report this comment

Achtung, Diamond. You might want to consider a name change. V1? Seriously? How about "Buzzbomb"?

Posted by: Rick Rosenthal | March 15, 2012 12:56 PM    Report this comment

I saw something at Austro that truly astonished me. On the floor of the factory were about 25 fully dressed OM-640 Mercedes engines, used in the A and B class. They were fresh from the factory. Daimler makes about 1500 of these engines * a day.* So I was looking at 20 minutes worth of production.

Austro uses the core of this engine for the AE300, stripping off the automotive components and building it back up with its own approved components. Those brand new fuel pumps, turbos and airboxes were off to the scrap heap. (Sigh.)

If you know anything about series production, you know the more of anything you build with less variability, the higher the potential QC level. So those cores are at automotive standards, not lesser aviation standards. That bodes well for long-term durability. The first Austros are just now coming in for overhaul, so they're beginning to see if the claims will potentiate.

I haven't seen anything yet that makes me think the economics can't be made to work. It may take some tweaking.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | March 15, 2012 1:03 PM    Report this comment

Mark, while a second engine will mean more maintenance in this case it doesn't necessarily mean twice the maintenance cost, for the reasons I gave earlier.

Paul, I was using the high end of your figures for my fuel burn argument - If you were seeing 180ktas @ 10gph that's damn impressive. What is the Austro's initial TBO? I recall the Thielert's was not very high, right out of the box. What are the chances of a US approval for road diesel?

Posted by: Will Alibrandi | March 15, 2012 1:04 PM    Report this comment

'Seriously? How about "Buzzbomb"?

I knew this would not escape notice....

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | March 15, 2012 1:07 PM    Report this comment

Paul, automotive production standards are *higher* than aviation standards? That doesn't sound right.

Posted by: Will Alibrandi | March 15, 2012 1:17 PM    Report this comment

'Seriously? How about "Buzzbomb"?

I knew this would not escape notice....

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | March 15, 2012 1:20 PM    Report this comment

Will,

Applying years of bureaucratic review and many reams of paper doesn't actually improve the product one bit. This kind of excess does increase the cost of the product and might identify design flaws.

We are all used to the notion that auto conversions don't work as well in airplanes as purpose built engines. That doesn't mean the auto engines are poor quality. They just aren't designed for the aviation environment.

Auto manufacturers have extensive equipment and QA programs to insure high quality in their engines. Any slip-up here results in very expensive product recalls and repairs. I would not have compared these two products for quality, but now that I think about it the auto manufacturers really do need higher quality. This stems mostly from the much higher volume of product produced.

Posted by: Paul Mulwitz | March 15, 2012 1:38 PM    Report this comment

"Paul, automotive production standards are *higher* than aviation standards? That doesn't sound right."

QC standards, Will. The manufacturing model of Lycoming and Continental is low volume, high variability which is the antithesis of QC. A Lycoming will never have the quality of a Toyota Camry engine and it has little to do with the duty cycle. If you make 300,000 of a thing a year, you can pretty quicky squeeze out the quality shorts.

The same is true of avionics. A major avionics manufacturer once told me the company's quality would never get to the level of consumer electronics, mainly due to low volume and the need for specialized components that aren't mass manufactured.

Our recent engine survey unmasked dozens of complaints about premature cam and tappet failure. When's the last time you saw that in car engines? 1955?

I need to check the current Austro TBO. 1200 rings a bell, but I'm not sure.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | March 15, 2012 1:52 PM    Report this comment

Thanks Paul(s). What you both wrote makes sense - I suppose the reason this seemed odd to me is that you'd think (hope?) that QC standards for something you strap yourself into and leave the ground in would be higher than a ground-bound vehicle. Engine problems in a car means pulling over and calling AAA, whereas the same problem at altitude...

Posted by: Will Alibrandi | March 15, 2012 2:18 PM    Report this comment

Many years ago (1970) I had a friend who worked in a automotive engine factory and he took me to look around one day. There was a room where several engines were running flat out because there was a new connecting rod gudgeon pin that needed testing. The engines were taken off the production line and the new component fitted and then given this work out. They were run at maximum RPM for thirty days before being switched off stripped and all parts measured to see what wear and tear there was. Got to tell you I was impressed and anyone after that who told me automotive engines were not as good as aero engines would get me telling them to go and prove that by running an aero engine flat out for thirty days. I will not go down the road of avgas verses mogas but it is very clear that if aero engines cannot run off mogas then they are not as good as automotive.

Posted by: Bruce Savage | March 15, 2012 5:00 PM    Report this comment

What any new twin needs is autofeather and automatic engine out rudder assist if you are going to achieve a real, as opposed to theroretical increase, in safety.

Posted by: David Gagliardi | March 15, 2012 6:43 PM    Report this comment

To answer the marketing question, I think it was Olivier Dassault who pointed out that no matter how wonderfully technically advanced his business jet was, it would never sell if the chairman's wife was not comfortable in her seat and liked the interior design... I know Diamond have come on from the days when the interiors of their aeroplanes were like sitting in a fiber glass farm silo. Unless they can make it as least as comfortable as a nearly new car, they will have problems.

Posted by: Brian McCulloch | March 16, 2012 5:48 AM    Report this comment

"you need to consider the reliability of the diesel vs. gasoline engines." ...............

The question is the reliability of magneto driven air-cooled gasoline engines Vs fully electronic controlled and water cooled diesel engines(x2). Certainly we all know about the dual diesel failure in the DA42 that was due to a flat battery...

Posted by: Mark Fraser | March 16, 2012 10:23 AM    Report this comment

I vaguely recall the dead battery issue details. Seeing as many aircraft systems are doubly redundant I'd think a second (smaller?) backup battery for the ECUs should be a no-brainer.

Posted by: Will Alibrandi | March 16, 2012 1:15 PM    Report this comment

Seem to have had a similar incident with a Beachcraft couldn't swing the prop either had to change the battery.

Posted by: Bruce Savage | March 16, 2012 1:47 PM    Report this comment

When starting a from-scratch airplane design, the question “one engine or two?” inevitably comes down to: 1 – what you need, and 2 – what you want. In the early days, multis were driven by the non-existence of engines powerful enough to do the job solo. Heavy plane? Multiple engines!

The poor reliability of engines in general quickly led to the realization (then the requirement) that the vehicle had to be capable of sustaining level flight with at least one of the litter out of service. Simple physics led to the on-wing placement of multiple engines. Which in turn led to the need for authoritative rudders and blue lines on airspeed indicators.

Today’s light aircraft really don’t NEED more than one engine. So, it boils down to the “I WANT more than one engine” argument. Fair enough. The most rational solution is to mount the engines such that asymmetric operation does not result in an even remotely dangerous level of asymmetric thrust. True, it loads up the spar (and the wing that envelopes it), but in a carbon-composite world, the required extra strength can be achieved without proportional penalty.

The DA-42 was designed to be a classical multi-engine trainer. Without wing-mounted engines, it fails to achieve that objective. The tail is wagging the dog.

Posted by: Thomas Yarsley | March 16, 2012 2:11 PM    Report this comment

Thomas,

I agree with your comment. However, I think there are obvious times when you want a multi-engine airplane. These fall into the category where an engine failure is likely to be fatal.

Long distance over-water flights and frequent night flights come to mind. In these situations it is better to have all the problems and costs of two engines than to become a glider when one engine decides to drop dead.

Posted by: Paul Mulwitz | March 16, 2012 2:31 PM    Report this comment

“Dries wanted to know how you sell such a thing against an able, impressive airplane like the Cirrus.”

Good luck. Cirrus sells more aircraft here because Cirrus builds what this market wants to buy. Cirrus has shown that the majority of North American buyers who are able to spend that kind of money for personal transportation want a luxurious cabin, single engine, fixed gear aircraft with good speed and range. North Americans have good avgas availability and for aircraft in this price range, fuel cost is not the most important factor. Mr. Dries on the other hand builds aircraft for the rest of the world.

Posted by: Dan Montgomery | March 16, 2012 4:34 PM    Report this comment

I operate a Cessna 340. Fuel cost is a factor. Any replacement would need be pressurized.

I've looked at the Piper Malibu varieties as a possible replacement. However, the extra bucks I'd need to pay for the Piper, does not pencil-out with the fuel cost savings.

Plus, wife insists on twin engines and pressurization. No one makes such a plane anymore.

Maybe a future target for Diamond?

Posted by: Edd Weninger | March 16, 2012 6:08 PM    Report this comment

Paul:

Your examples are valid, and are a part of the "I WANT multiple engines" argument. A close look at your examples reveals that multiple engines are not the objective – they are one means of achieving your underlying objective, which is safety.

Reliability is an important component of safety. But redundancy is not a synonym for reliability. And reliability is not a synonym for safety.

The accident record of amateur-flown Part 23 twins shows that two wing-mounted engines do not bring the desired level of safety to part 91 operations.

Cessna got it right with the 336/337, a half-century ago. Rutan's Defiant; Adam's A-500; a host of lesser-known centerline-thrust (or near-CLT) designs; PT-6 TwinPac implementations; all multi-engine helicopters – each of these brings multi-engine redundancy. Which gets conflated with reliability. Which gets credited for increasing safety. Except that it doesn’t reliably do that.

One relatively simple fix would be to require Part-25 performance of all future Part-23 twins. But with apologies to the Baron and the DA-42, what’s the likelihood that we’re going to see many future Part-23 piston twins – ever?

Posted by: Thomas Yarsley | March 17, 2012 9:07 AM    Report this comment

Thomas,

Your point is a valid one. I don't think part 91 or amateur pilots is the problem with twins. Rather it is underpowered engines that really can't support single engine flight along with the little known fact that most private airplane owners fly less than 50 hours per year. Many owners fly less than 25 hours per year.

I would say that is not enough to safely handle single engine situations in a normal twin, but recent events in the part 121 world make me wonder about those professional pilots too. Both the Colgan and Air France disasters a couple of years ago showed that an airline transport rating doesn't mean you actually know how to fly an airplane. It seems the typical private airplane owner gets more stick and rudder time than the typical airline pilot. In the Air France A330 case a dual aircrew didn't include a single pilot who could fly straight and level with the automation out of service.

I am sure there are plenty of people who could safely fly twins without being "Professional" pilots. They would need professionalism, but that is a different thing.

In my own case, I won't be flying any twins unless the FAA finally gets rid of the 3rd class medical certificate. Until then I am an "LSA only" pilot.

Posted by: Paul Mulwitz | March 17, 2012 10:49 AM    Report this comment

The accident stats show the extra margin of safety in a twin is nullified if the pilot doesn't stay proficient on engine-out procedures. Therefore, a pilot who wants a twin because of the implied safety of a second engine, but doesn't fly & train enough to stay proficient is probably safer in a single.

Posted by: Will Alibrandi | March 17, 2012 11:14 AM    Report this comment

I don't believe any competent twin pilot considers the second engine a safety factor, other than when enroute over nasty terrain. We have a lot of that in the West. The second engine is primarily for more power.

With regard to close-to-the-ground operations, loss of an engine does not always result in a "smoking crater". If you lose an engine, fly by the numbers and you will get where you want to be. +400 fpm is better than any single in the same situation. If you don't think you can do that (even when the airplane is capable) chop the other engine and pretend your in a single ;-)

I did my multi training in a 135 Hp Apache. It was a good training plane, as you could keep it in the air, but you had to really pin the numbers. Every other twin today has more capability and can be flown proficiently and safely with a bit wider margins.

I'd love to see an innovative company like Diamond build a comfortable (stretch it) 4-place, pressurized (high teens to low 20s) efficient twin. Something that doesn't exist and does not seem to be on the horizon. It could be an upgrade for Cirrus pilots.

Posted by: Edd Weninger | March 17, 2012 3:03 PM    Report this comment

I love your V 1 humor Paul. I doubt the patch mustache under the nose will be back in vogue any time soon either

Posted by: Dale Rush | March 17, 2012 4:20 PM    Report this comment

I've every confidence the new V1s will have better autopilots and landing performance than the previous ones.

I'd prefer two engines AND the chute! Maybe the car engine connection is the answer. The power to weight ratio and fuel specifics of automotive diesels are sky-rocketing (no pun intended) and they're becoming more numerous, not just in Europe. I can imagine a time when these engines are cheap enough that two of them can simply be replaced for less than the cost of overhauling one big bore flat six.

I also wonder about the potential for much larger diesels to bridge that gap between piston and turbine motors. They're unlikely to ever be as light but I bet they could be much cheaper to own and run, particularly when propelling unpressurised twins as replacements for existing unpressurised turbine singles and twins.

Posted by: john hogan | March 17, 2012 9:57 PM    Report this comment

I agree with you John the cost of running a diesel against a turbine is a lot less and that includes petrol engines. Now regarding cost of engines Bill Gates once commented that if Mercedes were to follow the software houses they would be able to reduce the cost of their cars to a few cents. Only problem is that the car would be so small that it would fit on the end of a pin head. Henry Ford invented mass production and if the aircraft industry adopted this approach we would have far better, more reliable and cheaper aircraft than we have today. But then one can only dream, as our aircraft industry has been forced down a route that ensures high prices not so reliable crafts and certainly not as elegant and comfortable as the cars of today.

Posted by: Bruce Savage | March 18, 2012 5:18 AM    Report this comment

John, I'm sure the new V1s would inflict fewer casulaties upon landing too :)

Sadly, the factors influencing our favorite industry conspire to keep prices high. Certification of anything that flies is expensive, and combined with a small (and shrinking) market means margins must be larger to make a business case for aviation products. I hold out much hope for diesels, and would love to get my hands on a DA40/DA50 TDI some day.

Posted by: Will Alibrandi | March 18, 2012 11:40 AM    Report this comment

The NG has the GFC700 Autopilot. Not sure there's a better GA autopilot out there... I've got about 75 hours in an NG, I don't believe there's anything negative about the landing performance/qualities. The airplane is a dream to fly. The only complaints we have at the moment relate to the supply chain for parts, it's improving but could be better.

The TBO is at 1000 hours right now, we have 4 airplanes...3 of which are around 500 on each engine. I would love to see an increase to 2000, and if 3000 happens...that would be great!

Now...I need to figure out if there's a "V1" upgrade to the original NGs...We'll take the extra speed and performance.

For reference, we routinely see a very positive rate of climb single engine above 10000' with a typical training load. The one limitation that we find difficult to deal with is that you can't physically shut down an engine above 10k, only simulated.

Oh, and yes...the name could use some "tweaking."

Posted by: Jared Testa | March 22, 2012 8:08 AM    Report this comment

The cabin in DA42s is pretty much as luxurious as any small GA airplane. The seats are comfortable, it has cup holders, leather upholstery, etc. The real issue is how little noise and vibration there is in the cabin, which to me and my pax is much more important than the perceived luxury of other GA airplanes. I have >150 hrs in both Thielert and Austro DA42s, and both engines are car-like in their smooth, quiet operation.

Posted by: Martin Gomez | March 22, 2012 8:09 AM    Report this comment

I currently fly a Piper Saratoga II HP, which I consider efficient, burning 17 gph and moving 160 knotts at 10,000'. But we like to fly to the Bahamas. So next week I'm spending five straight mornings working on my multi engine rating with a good instructor in a Duchess.

Give me a twin: a) that can do 180 knots on 10 gph; b)with a full fuel payload over 600 pounds; c) roomy enough for me, my wife, two kids and our luggage; and d) price it around $700,000 -and I'm sold. Having flown 210 hours in the last 8 months alone, I'm not too concerned about maintaining proficiency in a twin. Properly flown, I view them as safer over the water or mountains.

Posted by: Josh Smith | March 28, 2012 2:49 PM    Report this comment

In case you all are interested. Is this the new DA52?

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzM2Njk3Njgw.html

Posted by: Josh Smith | March 31, 2012 6:34 PM    Report this comment

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