Diamond Relaunches DA20-C1


Diamond Aircraft announced the relaunch of its DA20-C1 single-engine trainer on Friday. The updated model features a new panel layout based around Garmin’s G500 TXi touchscreen avionics display. The two-seat DA20-C1 is powered by the 125-HP Continental IO-240-B32B engine and has a top cruise speed of 130 knots, 525-NM range and useful load of 606 pounds.

“We are excited to re-introduce the brand new DA20-C1,” said Diamond Aircraft Industries CEO Scott McFadzean. “Our innovative DNA is of course incorporated into the new aircraft, which showcases the latest Garmin avionics.”

The DA20 was originally introduced in 1992 and entered service the following year. According to Diamond, the DA20 fleet has accumulated almost 7,000,000 flight hours with more than 1,000 aircraft in operation globally. The first of the model year 2020 DA20-C1s was delivered last month and the company says it is currently taking orders for 2021 deliveries.

Image: Diamond Aircraft
Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. A modern-day Tomahawk?
    But 29 circuit breakers, 12 rocker switches, and 11 round-hole displays? Plus stick-mounted top-hats?
    Seems kind of schizophrenic.
    Any price information, Kate?

    • I had about the same thought, Yars. Why all those round engine instruments? Shouldn’t all of that be cooked into the G500 system? Or, if not, then why not just have one GI275 EIS? (Could go where the current tachometer is, or to the right of the G5.). If one of the reasons for this airplane is to “showcase Garmin avionics” then why does it have an STec autopilot?

    • I’ve seen a couple guys who likely shopped at specialty stores get in and takeoff in what was almost assuredly an overloaded DA20. Try it before you knock it.

  2. Is it still restricted to no IFR due to potential damage from lightning strikes blowing chunks out of the composite airframe or have they cured (pun intended) it with conductive strips?

    TOM & YARS: to compete with 172 and the new $260,000 Piper Pilot 100/100i I’m guessing more like $230,000.

    CAMERON – I have quite a bit of time in these and although I’m quite large I was extremely comfortable even on long XC thanks to a gigantic canopy and grab hardpoints allowing easy entry/exit… plus semi-reclined.

    Major operational issue was with the Rotax 912 which in certified form was a hopeless time-consuming disaster to pre and post flight [burping fluids to check levels!] plus a hangar queen with five times the required adjustments and inspections of Lyc/Cont. including but not limited to frequent carb synch and gearbox shimming/repairs. Go with the Cont.

    Some faculty/staff morons at SUNY Farmingdale conspired to order a fleet of these VFR-only Rotax in ?1997? despite an intensive IFR and cold climate. Rotax would not start in winter without overnight preheat, had frequent pretakeoff traffic delay ground overheats in summer. Purchase rationale? Scuttlebutt was kickbacks to staff… typical for corrupt chaotic Long Island. Superb Av Program maintenance staff discovered and rebaked empennage cracks. New Director arrived, pushed for traditional metal aircraft with conventional engines, then rallied students, parents, legislators to fight off attempt by Chancellor King and President Gibralter to secretly sell program off to private sector after 9/11. With help from then NY Atty Gen Andrew Cuomo, they first silenced, then humiliated, then terminated him for “insubordination” on same day they announced program would survive. Fleet is now 100% Piper and Cessna and doing great. Him? I’m retired to nowhere with no pension but proud of what we accomplished.

    • Forgot to answer you question. Yes, the 20’s have a single spar and no mesh in the composite to diffuse a lightning strike. That is why they are non IFR and will remain so. Adding mesh would be a big certification expense and leave the plane with too small a useful load.

      Until someone breaks the Cessna training monopoly, replacing the current two seater with a new model would be a loser.

  3. The rotax powered aircraft were a totally different, but similar looking aircraft IIRC. They were built differently. I’ve been in one, and I believe they are smaller. Not just the cockpit, the entire fuselage.

    The likely payoff to staff was not from Diamond, but rather from saving money on the budget. The problem flight schools have is that most are incapable of getting maintenance staff that know anything other than 172 maintenance so the more different the plane, the more the headaches. Actual reliability cannot even be measured in that environment.

    The cracks are no more an issue than the bent metal, but look worse while being easier and cheaper to fix. Also, they do not alter the shape of the aircraft. I will take composites, thanks.

  4. I flew one of these about 1.5 hours while at a medical conference in Hawaii. Flew it around part of the Big Island and Maui.

    I’m 6′ and the instructor I flew with was also full size and it was a comfortable smooth little plane.