Diamond D-Jet Schedule Depends on Funding

The economic strain overriding the entire GA industry continues to dog the Diamond D-Jet program. A max effort to re-engine their DA42 twin-engine piston in 2008 sapped Diamond financial strategists, resulting in adjustments to the certification schedule for the single-engine D-Jet. There has been no official update for more than a year, since the company included the following in its July 2009 newsletter: "The economic downturn put further strain on our company, ultimately necessitating an adjustment of spending and schedule for the capital-intensive development of the D-Jet." It was then that Diamond announced a 25-percent price increase to $1.89 million; first announced its switch to de-ice boots from TKS "weeping wing" anti-icing; updated details on airframe adjustments resulting from the switch to Williams FJ33-5A turbofans; and announced projected performance figures based on test flights of the two test articles, which have flown a combined 700 flight hours to date. The certification phase is expected to take at least two years, depending on available funding, so certification could now be pushed back to 2012, though Diamond has not confirmed that. Though acknowledging the challenges it faces with the D-Jet, the company says it is confident of its position with respect to competitors in the light jet field.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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