Video: All-New Diamond Twin Flies

190+ knots, 7 passengers, twin turbo-diesel.

Diamond DA52
Diamond DA52
** The new Diamond DA52 during its maiden
flight**

Diamond Aircraft has made the first flight of its new all-composite twin-engine model, the DA52. First flight, made by Diamond Chairman Christian Dries and Diamond test pilot Ingmar Mayerbuch, went off without a hitch. In fact, after the flight Dries said that the DA52 was "the best prototype aircraft I have ever made a maiden flight with." He went on to say that the model's performance "exceeded all my expectations."

The DA52 — there’s apparently no nickname or tradename for it yet — is based on the fuselage of the as-yet-to-enter production DA50 Magnum (formerly called the Super Star), which is substantially larger than that of the DA40, on which the DA42, formerly called the TwinStar, is based. The DA52 is powered by Diamond’s own Austro AE300 turbo-diesels putting out 180 hp each.

The performance claimed by Diamond for the first flight is remarkable, with an initial rate of climb of 1,700 fpm, a nine-minute time to climb to 12,000 feet at an indicated airspeed of 120 knots, and a true airspeed of 190 knots, which Dries said was the limit not of the airplane but of the test envelope, adding that “we may see a lot more [airspeed].”

Diamond developed the DA52 in just six months, the company said. It hasn’t yet released a timetable for certification or production of the new model.