With sales of new airplanes holding their own, if at high prices, the used market is booming and Diamond Aircraft has found a niche for refurbishing all of its popular models. The program has proven a good opportunity to see how composite airframes are bearing up over time and so far, so good.
In this podcast recorded recently after a visit to Diamond’s London, Ontario factory, the company’s Ed Hollestelle explains how the Certified Pre-Owned program works. And unlike automotive programs, refurbished aircraft can come out of the factory like new and sometimes with avionics nearly matching new aircraft.
“We install new interiors, we do the next highest possible scheduled maintenance. We also make sure that the major structural inspection is up to date,” Hollestelle said. Some of those airplanes are high timers, coming in from the training fleet. When asked what the inspections are showing with regard to wear and tear on the airframes, Hollestelle said “not much.” The aircraft also get zero-time-since-overhaul engines and props.
Diamond is applying the refurb program to all of its models, including the DA20 two-seater. However, the DA40 and DA42 are often more attractive candidates because the airplanes carry a higher price tag and can thus have more options for upgrades. While avionics can’t be realistically upgraded to the same state as new aircraft, there are still plenty of options to choose from, Hollestelle said. Prices on these aircraft are typically about 70 percent of the new price of an equivalent model. For more, see Diamond Aircraft’s website.