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Diamond Introduces DA40 XLT

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Diamond Aircraft is showing its latest model, the DA40 XLT, with an all-new interior, at the Sun 'n Fun show in Lakeland, Fla., this week. The upgrade is the first major overhaul to the interior in over eight years, company spokesman Jeff Owen said in a news conference Wednesday morning. The changes include deluxe leather seats with improved lumbar contours and a special sun-resistant coating that can produce substantial reductions in seat temperatures, plus sun visors, more cup holders, and more storage spaces for phones and tablets. "These things really do make a difference" in the comfort of everyone on board, Owen said.

The front seat widths have also been increased by an inch, and the rear footwells were redesigned to give passengers more space. The technology for the seat coatings is the same that's used on BMW convertibles, Owen said, and can lower the seat temperatures by as much as 20 degrees Celsius compared to traditional uncoated leather in direct sunlight. The XLT is on display at Diamond's exhibit all this week. The company also is offering a DiamondShare program at several sites in the Eastern U.S. Essentially, the program helps an owner share the airplane with two or three other pilots, reducing the costs of ownership. Owen also said the company has started to recall workers after layoffs earlier this year.

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