click on the title to see the video on DailyMotion
Last Friday the 14th of November we were invited to the Diamond headquarters in Wiener Neustadt, just 40 kilometers south-west of Wien. We flew in the day before with SkyEurope, a Czech low cost carrier, so we could spend some time in Wien.
From the airport you can take a special train to reach the city center within a few minutes.
The video shows some pictures of Wien including the Stephansdom and some other historical buildings. From Wien to Wiener Neustadt is also easy by train, it takes less than half a hour.
Diamond Aircraft is located on one of three airports in Wiener Neustadt and is located in the north-eastern sector of the city. This is the airport where we first saw our current plane the PH-PCA Diamond DA40. We have been flying it for only a year but if you see all the blog stories together it seems much longer. The DA40 really outperformed our initial expectation measured on what we are actually doing with it, and the ease with which this seems to be possible. Even for pilots with our limited level of experience.
Diamonds' Bernard Gruber gave us a warm welcome in the Katana Cafe of the airport. The headquarters is still a very busy place. Besides all the activity around the factory and the test flights with experimental versions of the plane, there are of course also all kind of marketing and sales activities carried out on the premises. That day a French media team was inspecting the DA42 NG on several demo flights. The NG is equiped with two Austro Engines, from the nearby sister company that started developing this diesel engine a couple of years ago.
Of course the financial problems at Thielert did have an impact on Diamond as well. The Thielert situation has also effected existing plane owners and Diamond has always been Thielerts number 1 customer. The positive news is that during our stay in Wiener Neustadt we sincerely got the feeling that we are close to a solution of the current situation. A solution not only focused on the upcoming Austro engines and for both new and existing Diamond customers.
The Austro 2.0 liter diesel engines will be a little bit heavier than the current Thielert engines, but the extra weight should be more than compensated by the higher power of the engines. In addition Diamond expects them to be even more fuel efficient. Certification of the engine itself is expected on short term, the type certification on the DA42 and DA40 should follow shortly afterwards.
We already saw a significant number of DA42 equipped with the Austro's in final assembly. On the video you can see the difference in rate of climb between an Austro equiped and a Thielert equiped DA42 that took off in sequence, without being absolutely sure of course that the same take-off technique was used. Another feature of the Austro seems to be that it makes a lot less noise when running idle.
Next to the Austro alternative Diamond seems to continue implementing newly delivered Thielert engines into its planes. It will be interesting to follow how the future will look like, what alternatives will be available and what scenario's will be developed by Diamond for both new and existing customers.
Pancake Airlines Crew is trained by Dwarf Powered Gliders (http://www.dwarf.nl/) and Wings over Holland (http://www.wingsoverholland.nl/). Information on the PH-PCA Diamond DA40 can be found on http://www.diamond-aircraft.at/. You can click on the title link to see the HD video on DailyMotion.