Cirrus’ sales success all but tanked the idea of a high-performance single with retractable gear. But at Aero on Wednesday, Diamond Aircraft revived the idea in announcing that the long-stalled DA-50 is coming back, this time as a diesel-power retractable with at least five seats. Diamond CEO Liquin Zhang says certification is planned for the end of 2020.
Students of Diamond history will recall that the DA-50 first appeared in 2006 at Aero as a skunk works project of the company’s former owner, Christian Dries. It simmered in development, but was soon displaced by the DA-62 that has proven to be a sales success for Diamond, with more than 120 sold. The DA-50 sports the same size cabin, with doors on each side, two seats up front and a wide bench in the back suitable for three passengers. The cabin still has room for baggage in the back.
As it did with the DA-42 in 2002, Diamond is venturing forward with an unproven engine bolted to a new airframe, although by now the DA-62 has wrung out the airframe in the real world market. The DA-50 will be powered by Continental’s recently certified six-cylinder, four-valve CD-300 diesel, which is adapted from an automotive diesel but which Continental considers a proper aircraft engine. The DA-50 represents the first OEM application for the engine.
No specs or performance predictions were provided by Diamond on Wednesday. The photo accompanying this new story shows the original prototype, which has fixed gear.