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Diamond DA62

 
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In developing this airplane, Diamond Aircraft founder and CEO Christian Dries challenged his team to create a simple-to-operate, fuel-efficient twin and wrap it around a passenger compartment mimicking the latest luxury SUVs. With its third-row seating option, oversize doors and seats that fold flat to accommodate bulky items, the DA62 is a utility vehicle.
 
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The DA62s twin 180-horsepower Austro AE330 diesel engines burn less than 10 USgallons per hour per side at maximum continuous power, propelling the airplane to a top speed of around 200 knots. At 75 percent power and the speed is 187 ktas, but fuel burn drops to 7.4 gph per side.
 
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The DA62's diesel engines are encased in cowlings that seem oddly misshapen, a result of packaging Mercedes-Benz diesel car engines on an airplane.
 
The DA62 has the same center control stick, throttle placement and cockpit display layout as the Diamond DA40 and DA42. Round-dial backup instruments have been replaced with an electronic standby instrument with emergency battery. The seats are leather with seatback adjustments, but they don't move fore and aft. Instead, the rudder pedals can be adjusted forward and back to accommodate a variety of pilots. An armrest is in the center of the cockpit between the pilots.
 
The DA62's three large gull-wing doors and the forward-folding seats, plus smart placement of handholds, make entry and exit from the DA62 easy. There are cup holders for the front-seat occupants and a variety of LED interior lighting options throughout the cabin. Options include air conditioning, a 36-gallon aux fuel tank, Garmin weather radar and satellite data receiver, and Avidyne TAS600 traffic advisory system. New for the DA62 is an upgraded metallic paint option that lets buyers choose colors other than the standard white found on many carbon-composite aircraft.
 
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It features aluminum fuel tanks sandwiched between the carbon-fiber main wing spars for crashworthiness, and incorporates Diamond's trademark high-impact fixed seats that are attached to strategically located crush points in the floor. The composite monocoque cabin design was borrowed from the Formula 1 racing world. The airplane has undergone crashworthiness testing similar to what is ­performed in the auto industry. The DA62 also offers full icing protection with its TKS weeping wing option.
 
The U.S. spec version offers a 5,071-pound gross weight (versus 4,400 pounds for the European version to avoid the ATC fees levied on heavier airplanes) and a 1,300-nautical-mile range with a full-fuel payload of over 1,000 pounds. Its 2.0-liter Austro compression ignition engines, meanwhile, sip jet-A fuel and a 13,000-foot single-engine service ceiling (at max gross weight) and turbocharged power. There are two baggage compartments in the nose that can accommodate full-size suitcases, golf bags and more. The DA62's useful load in the international spec version is 1,609 pounds.
 
At $1.08 million (2016) for the U.S. model before typical options, the DA62 compares well with the competition. The short engine overhaul interval is 1,000 hours at the moment for the new Austro AE330s. Based on the Mercedes-Benz diesels in B-class automobiles, the engine is a proven design, and the 1,000-hour limitation is projected to be short-lived as Diamond gains experience with the aero engine. The company hopes to increase TBO to as high as 2,400 hours eventually. Other required engine maintenance, meanwhile, includes inspection of the generators at 300 hours, and replacement of the high-pressure fuel pump and inspection of the two-mass flywheel at 600 hours.
 
The Diamond DA62 options include third-row seating accommodating seven people, increased 5,071-pound maximum takeoff weight, built-in oxygen, air conditioning, TKS icing protection, Garmin GWX 70 weather radar and GSR 56 satellite data receiver, Avidyne TAS600 traffic advisory system, 36-gallon auxiliary fuel tank, metallic paint and more.
 
The DA62 earned its type certification in Europe in April 2015.
 
The airplane is simple to operate. The engine start procedure involves hitting the master switch, flipping the engine master on, waiting a moment to ensure the glow plug annunciation is out and then pushing the engine start button. That's it. The ­Austro diesels come to life in an instant as the dual-channel full authority ­digital engine controls (fadec) manage rpm and continuously check for faults while the only other job is to glance at the oil pressure indication. As long as the gauges are in the green, it’s good to go.
 
The before-takeoff run-up procedure is stress free. It involves setting the parking brake, manually selecting the A and B channels of the electronic engine control units (EECU) to ensure both are online, and then pushing and holding the engine run-up buttons. The AE330's fadec computers automatically increase power to 1,950 rpm and perform a number of health checks, including cycling the props. The throttles never physically move and there aren't any prop levers to move in the first place. If no fault messages ­appear on the Garmin G1000 primary flight display when the test sequence is completed, you're ready for departure.
 
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Rotation is at 80 knots, climb is at 110 kias, and the DA62 cruise climb speed is 128 kias. The left is the critical engine in the DA62 and the ­propeller automatically feathers. The single-engine best rate-of-climb airspeed is 87-knot (blue line).
 
Max continuous power of 95 percent at 14,000 feet gives around 195 ktas with the twin AE330s burning 18.6 gph. 60 percent power shows 170 ktas and 11.8 gph fuel consumption. With one engine-out, at 100 knots in level flight, fuel burn is 3.6 gph. Even with less than half fuel on board, at this rate the flight endurance would still be more than 11 hours.
 
By design, pilot workload is low in all flight regimes. Fitted with the latest generation of Garmin G1000 avionics with synthetic-vision technology (SVT) and electronic stability and protection (ESP), plus a three-axis Garmin GFC 700 autopilot and GWX 70 weather radar, there's an argument to be made that the DA62 is the among the most capable and easiest-to-fly piston airplanes ever produced.
 
Landing targets 90 knots on final with full flaps selected. Max demonstrated crosswind component with full flaps in the DA62 is 25 knots, slightly better than in the DA42, even with its slender wing spanning nearly 48 feet.
 
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2016 Diamond DA62
Standard price: $1.08 million
Engines: 2 x Austro Engines AE330, 180 hp
Props: MT 3-blade 76 inches)
Wingspan: 47 feet 10 inches
Wing area: 184.1 square feet
Length: 30 feet 1 inch
Height: 9 feet 3 inches
Wing loading: 27.54 lb/sq.ft
Power loading: 14.08 lb/hp
Max takeoff weight: 5,071 lb
Standard empty weight: 3,461 lb
Max useful load: 1,609 lb
Payload with full fuel: 1,021 lb
Max usable fuel: 86.4 USgallons (with aux tanks)
Max rate of climb: 1,346 fpm
Single-engine rate of climb: 288 fpm
Service ceiling: 20,000 ft
Max speed: 204 kias
Cruise speed: (14,000 feet, max cont. power) 193 kias
Max range: 1,275 nm
Stall speed (clean): 70 kias
Stall speed (full flaps): 64 kias
Takeoff distance: 1,265 ft
Takeoff distance over 50 ft: 2,097 ft
Landing distance: 1,259 ft
 
 
 
 
 


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