Last year, Diamond Aircraft reintroduced its twin-engine Diamond Aircraft DA42 (519.457.4000, www.diamondaircraft.com) with new power options. Dual fuel-efficient Thielert diesels powered the initial version of the four-seater, which hit the U.S. market in 2005. That airplane garnered significant attention, but engine maintenance proved to be difficult and expensive. In 2008, Thielert declared bankruptcy, forcing Diamond to suspend production of the DA42. Last July, Diamond revived the design to accommodate new engine options: the Diamond-developed Austro diesel, or the traditional Lycoming O-360, which is powered by avgas fuel.
While the Lycomings are tried and true, the smooth and fuel-efficient Austros will appeal to those who prefer to burn Jet-A, which is typically easier to find than avgas. With its 44-foot wingspan, lightweight composite construction, and roomy cabin, the new DA42 is attracting lots of second looks. The diesel version sells for roughly $711,000; the Lycoming-powered version sells for just under $600,000.