Turbine-Powered Diamond DA50 Takes Flight

One step closer to certification of DA50-JP7.

Diamond DA50-JP7

Diamond DA50-JP7

Diamond DA50-JP7Courtesy Diamond

This week, less than two years after Diamond Aircraft announced its intent to bring a turbine powered DA50 to market, the Austrian company embarked on the first flight of the airplane that has been named the DA50-JP7. Diamond Aircraft CEO Christian Dries was one of two test pilots on the first flight, which launched from the company's headquarters at the Wiener Neustadt East airport south of Vienna. "This aircraft with this turbine engine almost flies like a rocket," Dries said.

Dries said the flight lasted about 40 minutes and included agility testing, and the evaluation of power ratings at various altitudes up to 8,000 feet and climb rates at different speeds. The initial climb rate at 3,300 lbs was 2,800 fpm and the airplane reached a top speed of 175 knots indicated.

Two additional test airplanes will be used for certification testing of the DA50-JP7.

The JP stands for Jet Prop, and the airplane is powered by a 465 hp AI-450S engine developed by Motor Sich JSC and Ivchenko Progress, both out of Ukraine. Diamond Aircraft subsidiary Austro Engine is collaborating on the certification effort of the engine. Diamond claims the FADEC-equipped AI-450S is 20 percent more fuel efficient than other comparable engines. The engine produces about 380 hp in cruise and is most efficient at "medium altitudes," Diamond said.

The DA50-JP7 will be produced in two models — a standard version, designed for speed, and a Tundra version with wide tires and landing gear that has been designed to land on rough surfaces.

Diamond hopes to achieve certification for the DA50-JP7 by the end of next year.