May 29, 2008
By Alton K. Marsh
Things should improve for Diamond Aircraft once it receives certification of its own diesel engine later this year, but for now, the feud between Diamond and the Thielert Aircraft Engines (TAE) is escalating.
Diamond officials have customers with airplanes on the ground, waiting for Thielert parts or engines. They feel the court-appointed bankruptcy officials in Germany aren’t responsive to their efforts to find temporary customer support. The officials, in turn, have countered with complaints about Diamond. It’s war via press release.
In the meantime, more than 50 Thielert-powered Diamond aircraft are on the ground due to lack of support or parts. Diamond has stopped 60 percent of the company’s annual production of 500 aircraft (whether Thielert powered or not). The cost of operating a Thielert engine, based on a boost in parts costs by the bankruptcy administrators and the lack of supported warranty programs, has gone from $13 an hour to $85 an hour.
“This effectively makes the engine, and TAE-powered aircraft, commercially non-viable at the current point in time,” Diamond officials said in a press release.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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