The Austrian manufacturer Diamond Aircraft flew its new turboprop for the first time in January, with Christian Dries, CEO, and Ingmar Mayerbuch, chief test pilot, at the controls. The Diamond Aircraft DA50-JP7 is powered by a newly designed, 465 hp turbine engine built in Ukraine by Motor Sich in collaboration with Ivchenko Progress, paired with a five-blade MT propeller. The engine burns 20 percent less fuel than similar engines and is easy to operate, with dual electronic controls and a push-button start. The airplane will be available in a standard version for training and personal flying and a Tundra version with big tires and rugged landing gear. Both versions can seat as many as seven passengers and fly at speeds up to 245 mph, with a range of about 1,100 miles.
The turbine airplane—in development for about two years—evolved from an earlier project, the DA50, which was designed for a traditional piston engine. The piston version was introduced late in 2006 but was put on hold after the economic downturn of 2008. The DA50-JP7 is expected to receive worldwide certification by mid-to-late 2016. The price has not yet been determined. The company plans to release more details about the airplane at Europe’s premier private-aviation event, Aero Friedrichshafen, in April. (diamond-air.at)