The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified the Diamond DA42 NG, which is powered by Diamond’s own 170-horsepower Austor diesel. The certification came less than a year after Thielert, whose engines powered first generation Twin Stars, became insolvent, resulting in serious maintenance issues for DA42 owners. The EASA certification means Diamond can start delivering Twin Stars again in Europe (it has 40 on the line) and also start turning its attention to retrofits for existing owners who want to swap out their Thielerts. “We are focusing our efforts to achieve the certification of the optional upgrade of all delivered DA42s with the Austro Engine, such that all customers can benefit from these improvements along with comprehensive customer support for their engines,” said Diamond CEO Christian Dries. Although the EASA certification is valid only in Europe, it should be fairly straightforward to get it recognized everywhere else, and Dries said Diamond is working on it.
Dries says that even though the new engine pumps out 20 percent more horsepower, it actually delivers better fuel economy than the Thielerts while giving the aircraft a higher gross weight and better performance. As part of the NG package, the new DA42s come with Garmin GFC 700 autopilot, and they’re ready for Garmin synthetic vision. The initial TBO of the new engine is 1,000 hours, but Dries said the goal is to extend that to 2,000 hours. It’s not clear how that will translate to North American customers where the Thielerts are on a 1,000-hour TBR (time before replacement). The company is also working on a maintenance program that will undoubtedly address some of the cost and AOG time spans that affected Thielert operators.